The MBA is a well-respected, highly sought-after business degree that is coveted by many professionals around the world. Getting an MBA can help you with your future career goals whether you are looking to start your own business in the future, want to move up into a senior management position in your current place of employment, change careers into a different business industry altogether, or find work overseas if you are looking to relocate. There are tons of career options that you could pursue with an MBA degree qualification, which have been widened due to the number of MBA concentrations that are now available for prospective students to choose from.
However, getting an MBA is a massive investment of your time, money, and effort – so choosing the right school and program for you is a hugely important decision that you will have to give a lot of thought and consideration to before you apply and eventually enroll. There are various different factors to consider when choosing which MBA program you’ll apply for, in order to make sure that you make the right choice and get the MBA that’s eventually going to help you reach your overall career goals, whatever they may be. If you’ve decided that an MBA could be the best choice when it comes to the next step that you are going to take in your career, here are some of the main factors to think about before choosing a program.
Is an MBA Necessary?
First of all, it’s worth bearing in mind that the MBA is a massive investment, and it might not always be necessary for what you want to do with your career in the future. If you are already highly qualified and have plenty of experience, it might be possible to get to your career goals faster with professional industry qualifications and other alternatives that are worth considering. For this reason, it’s a good idea to weigh up all of your options before making a decision as to whether not you really need – or want – an MBA. Perhaps you might not need an MBA to get to where you want to be in your career, but simply want to get this degree for personal achievement reasons, which is absolutely okay. It’s also a good idea to get an MBA if you suspect that you might want to change your career or move up even further in the future, which may require additional training and qualifications.
What Are Your Career Goals?
It’s likely that the first factor you will think about when deciding which MBA to get is your future career goals. Whether you want to progress up the ladder in your current choice of career or are looking to move into an entirely different field of business will obviously have an impact on the type of MBA program that you choose. If you are not sure exactly what role you would like to do in the future but simply want to improve your career opportunities and learning potential, getting an MBA can still help. On the other hand, various MBA concentrations are available to help prepare you for a specific role in the future, such as Suffolk University’s Online MBA Degree Health Sector Management Concentration that will help you achieve the necessary goals and earn the knowledge and skills required for a future career in health management.
Where are Your Interests?
Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have a specific career role in mind when you think about the future. You can often use your interests and passions at work to help you determine which MBA might be the best option for you. The good thing about MBA concentrations is that they are often very broad and offer further opportunities to specialize even more with elective modules as you study and get to know more about the field that you have an interest in. For example, if you are interested in a career in marketing but aren’t sure which role, you can get an MBA in marketing that will prepare you for a wide range of different marketing roles while offering you the option to focus more heavily on different aspects of the marketing industry as you learn more, such as digital marketing or data analysis.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Aside from the range of concentrations that are on offer, there are other factors to think about when getting an MBA, including whether you want to study part-time or full-time. In the past, full-time study set the standard for MBA degree programs but, today, with students having different needs and requirements in order to succeed, part-time learning is becoming a more popular option among MBA students who need a program that allows them less intensity and more flexibility. A full-time degree can often be completed in one or two years depending on the specific program that you opt for, while a part-time MBA program will usually take around double this time. However, it can often be worth the extra time spent if you would otherwise struggle to find the time to commit due to work, family and other commitments in your life.
Is Your Employer Supportive?
If your goals for getting an MBA are to move up the ranks in your current place of employment, you can save yourself a lot of trouble further down the line by having a conversation with your employer and getting their full support. In some cases, this might even lead to you finding out that you might not need to get an MBA to get the promotion that you are hoping for, and it could make the journey into your dream career much easier for you overall. On the other hand, talking to your employer could mean that you need to start rethinking your goals, for example, if they tell you that there’s unlikely to be suitable promotions available for you even after you get an MBA. In some cases, however, an MBA can be beneficial to both you and your employer and many employers in this situation might be willing to provide financial support for your tuition fees and work with you to make studying and working at the same time an easier feat.
Do You Want to Study On-Campus or Online?
Another big question that modern MBA students have to face today is whether they want to study on-campus or online. Both of these degree types are worth exactly the same qualification and can lead to the same career outcomes, so it’s really down to your personal preferences, how you prefer to learn and what’s going to be a better fit for your lifestyle. The traditional campus-based MBA is often a very intensive course when taken full-time. It typically requires students to give up their full-time job for the duration of the degree program and may be inflexible when it comes to class and lecture times. On the other hand, getting your MBA online is an ideal choice if you want more freedom and flexibility to fit your studies around your life. While some online MBA programs might have set online classes that you’ll need to attend, others will offer classes that you can either choose to attend live if you can or catch up on later with a recording. Due to this added flexibility, you won’t only save money on the cost of commuting to campus but also on the fact that you won’t need to give up working, making the opportunity cost of improving your resume much cheaper with the same return on your investment.
Would You Prefer to Do Both?
If you can’t decide whether to study on-campus or online and both options have different advantages and drawbacks for you, a blended MBA program might be the ideal choice for you. Blended programs offer a combination of both campus-based and online learning and tend to be quite flexible, offering you the option to choose which one you’d prefer to do for a given class or lesson based on your needs or schedule at the time. However, to benefit from a blended learning MBA degree, it’s best to choose a school that you can easily commute to in order to get the full benefit of the campus-based side of things, which could lead to restricting your options when it comes to where you can study and the programs that are available, so keep this in mind.
Choosing a Business School for Your MBA
Choosing the right business school for your MBA is an important part of the process. Today, there are hundreds of business schools to choose from, whether you want to attend a well-known, highly-ranked option or don’t really mind where you get your MBA as long as it teaches you what you need to know to succeed in your future career path. Some of the main factors to consider when choosing a business school include:
Remember that a business school’s ranking does not necessary correlate to its reputation. Don’t just look at the grades that current and former students have achieved; dig a little deeper to find out more about how they rate the school and whether or not they would recommend the MBA program to somebody else.
2. Program Availability:
A big factor to consider when choosing a business school is whether or not the MBA program that you want to complete is available. This might be especially relevant if you want to study for a rarer MBA concentration that might not be on the syllabus for many business schools, so do your research to ensure that that the program you want is available from a school you are happy to attend.
3. Online Quality:
If you are hoping to get your MBA online, the quality of the online teaching and learning should be something to carefully consider before choosing the right school for you. While an increasing number of business schools have now started offering online MBA programs in response to the increase in online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are new to it, and simply because a business school is well-known and reputable does not mean that they’re going to be good at delivering an online degree. In fact, in many cases, established online business schools might be the better option for you if you are considering taking the distance learning route.
4. Student Support:
If you are planning to continue working full-time while earning your MBA, it’s worth getting all the support that you can. Before you apply to a college, make sure that they have support measures in place for students in your situation and find out more about what they do to support students in need and how successful they are at doing so.
It’s important to consider your finances when choosing a business school since tuition fees and other costs can vary depending on where you attend. You may need to consider your student loan lender if you are going to be getting student finance, or bear in mind that you could be restricted to certain business schools if your employer is going to be funding the tuition costs for you.
6. Scholarships and Grants:
Finally, consider if the school that you have in mind offers any scholarships and grants. Some schools will provide additional funding to students that are the first in their generation to get a master’s degree, for example, or they may have funding options in place for BAME students or students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s always worth looking into your options, although bear in mind that scholarship funding is often harder to obtain at this level compared to undergraduate.
An MBA can transform your business career and provide you with the platform that you need to propel you into the role of your dreams, whether you want to work in a specific industry or start your own company in the future. But with so many MBA programs to choose from, getting the right one for you will take some careful consideration and planning.