When is the right time to pursue an MBA? It’s a question a lot of young professionals ask. Here are the top six reasons why now is the best time to earn an MBA degree.
1. Refresh skills and knowledge to meet employer needs
As the associate dean of a top-25 MBA program for the past 12 years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the job market. While the types of knowledge and skills employers are looking for in employees have evolved, the demand to hire MBA graduates remains constant. In part, this demand has been stable because of business school’s ability to adapt and refresh what is being taught and how it is being taught to develop Day 1 ready graduates who will immediately contribute to an organization’s success.
Technical and analytical skills now sit at the top of any employers must-have list. We operate in a digital-first world filled with big data and big opportunities to harness that data. Regardless of industry, employers are looking for data-savvy employees with strong quantitative skills who can leverage technology to create efficiencies, unlock new opportunities, or identify insights that can help solve complex problems.
Earning an MBA to layer technical and analytical skills on top of your existing functional area of expertise can set you apart in the job market. The problem-solving, strategy, and leadership skills you will also develop in an MBA set you up for accelerated career advancement.
2. Stay ahead of business trends
The way we do business has evolved dramatically over the years—both the how and the why. Once upon a time, we were solely focused on creating shareholder value. That has now shifted and creating stakeholder value is very much on the minds of Fortune 500s and startups alike.
Pursuing an MBA degree is an excellent way to gain new perspectives across multiple industries to understand multiple stakeholders and what value creation looks like for each. You still master fundamentals on how to create company profits and drive wealth for shareholders. But you also learn how an organization can positively impact communities, contribute to planet health, and shape systemic injustices. Whether focusing on one or more areas such as Business & Society; Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG); or Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), you are taught to look more holistically at the value and impacts an organization can have.
3. Future-proof against economic and job market uncertainty
Depending on the report you read or the economist you listen to, the U.S. economy and job market is either just fine, or it is heading into a recession. Whether a recession is imminent or not, history has taught us that they are cyclical, and there will likely be multiple recessions throughout any person’s lifetime.
These periods of market uncertainty are often a great time to voluntarily exit the workforce and enroll in business school. Whether you choose an accelerated One-Year MBA or traditional Full-time Two-Year MBA, you remove yourself from the possibility of layoffs and instead remain in control of your own career by gaining new expertise and knowledge that make you a more attractive hiring candidate/employee—one that has demonstrated a proactive approach to enhancing their abilities and one who can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to an organization in a period of need.
4. Proven career outcomes
Are you looking to advance your career in your existing field? Are you thinking of switching career paths by changing industries or functional areas? An MBA is a reliable degree when it comes to career outcomes.
Earning your MBA isn’t about getting your next job…it’s about mapping out your career journey and positioning yourself for success for the rest of your career. Goizueta’s Full-Time MBA is consistently ranked in the top 10 for career outcomes. In fact, 99% of the class of 2021 accepted job offers within three months of graduation—the highest employment rate among top-ranked MBA programs.
This success is based on intentionally developed academics and personalized career consulting that helps students map out their own unique career plans. Goizueta has helped an opera singer become a consultant, a professional athlete transition into a finance, and a marketer become an entrepreneur. Everyone’s professional goals are unique but an MBA can help almost any goal become a reality.
5. Invest Wisely with a High ROI
MBA degrees have a measurable return on investment. Goizueta’s class of 2021 graduates realized an average base salary plus bonus of $163,851. The higher salary earned after graduation typically translates to an ROI in three to five years post-graduation. And with your earnings compounding exponentially over the course of your career, the sooner you make the decision to pursue your MBA, the sooner you start to see returns.
One obvious reason to pursue a One-Year MBA is the reduced time to completion and lower cost. Requiring just one year to complete instead of two reduces your time without a steady income and the acceleration in your career (which often means a higher salary) comes in half the time.
Don’t let the initial tuition figures deter you from applying for an MBA. Business schools are always looking for strong MBA candidates and to diversify their incoming classes. This not only means traditional measures of diversity such as gender and race but also diversification of professional backgrounds and career goals. And business schools are willing to pay to have a robust, highly diverse cohort.
Goizueta has already secured more than $41 million in new scholarship donations as part of its current capital fundraising campaign. Like other business schools, we are looking for the best and brightest MBA candidates to curate a class that represents a diversity of perspectives and experiences. Some students are even offered scholarships for full tuition plus a stipend.
The only way to know what an MBA will actually cost you is to apply. Do your research. Find schools that are the right fit for you. And invest the time in exploring this opportunity because now is the right time to earn an MBA degree.
Brian Mitchell is the Full-Time MBA Associate Dean at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Prior to joining Goizueta, Brian spent 20 years in marketing and strategy roles in the pharmaceutical industry ultimately leading a specialized products P&L of over $600 million. Upon transition to education, Brian earned an Ed.M. from Harvard University where he attended as a Zuckerman Fellow within the Center for Public Leadership and was awarded Harvard’s Intellectual Contribution and Faculty Tribute award for his research on global partnerships in graduate business education.