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How To Decide If The MBA Is Right For You

An MBA isn’t for everyone.

Beth Luberecki of the Washington Post recently discussed how prospective applicants can determine whether or not the degree is right for them.

IS IT REQUIRED?

Experts say that all prospective applicants should first ask themselves if their career goals require them to have an MBA.

More specific, specialized roles in management may require an MBA in many cases.

“Say you’ve been working in manufacturing and were in charge of engineering quality control, but you want to move to a more administrative role,” P.K. Kannan, dean’s chair in marketing science at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, tells Washington Post. “A general management degree like an MBA will really provide that overview of how a firm functions and how different roles come together.”

Additionally, certain industries are more MBA-centric than others.

“Companies require MBAs with a concentration in finance as investment bankers and fund managers to assist them in raising money in the capital market and provide strategic advice regarding mergers and acquisitions and other financial transactions. Fund managers also help individuals make investment choices,” according to MBA Crystal Ball.

WHEN IT MAY NOT BE WORTH IT

While an MBA can catapult you up the ladder in certain industries, there are also situations where the degree doesn’t make as much sense.

For instance, those in the startup space should weigh whether a degree is worth the time and money.

“I’m not sure making the investment that may in fact cost $100,000 or more to get the degree would be worth it for an entrepreneur,” Barron Harvey, dean of the Howard University School of Business, tells Washington Post.

Rather, experts say, having a more specialized degree would make more sense.

“Those interested in more specialized business realms, like data analytics or finance, may benefit more from a focused advanced degree than a generalized MBA,” Luberecki writes.

STILL INTERESTED IN PURSUING THE MBA?

If you have your eyes set on the MBA, it’s important to note that you should have a few years of work experience under your belt prior to applying.

“I find that students who have gone straight from an undergraduate degree into an MBA program are not the most interesting students to have in class,” P.K. Kannan, dean’s chair in marketing science at the Smith School of Business, says. “They don’t have any background by which to absorb what it is you’re teaching, and they can’t participate in a discussion the way other people can.”

Sources: Washington Post, MBA Crystal Ball.