The 21st-century world moves fast. You’d be amazed at how recent college graduates were preparing for a Web 1.0-driven infosphere. And that’s to say nothing of the significant geopolitical shifts of the last decades!
Now here we are in the mid-2020s, and we’re looking at a business world that’s very different from the realities of just a few years ago. In a couple more years, things could change even more dramatically. Who knows? As ever, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the pace and range of change. You can see why someone might wonder, “is getting an MBA worth it? Still? Won’t the world have moved on by the time you get the degree?”
At The MBA Exchange, we don’t pretend to know everything about the future. But, we’re pretty sure of one thing: a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree is going to be an asset to your resume, both now and in the foreseeable future. If you ask us, an MBA degree is worth the investment because you’re not just investing in the credential, you’re gaining skills and connections that last a lifetime and will only appreciate in value after your graduation.
Understanding the MBA degree
What is an MBA program, exactly? We’re glad you asked. Honestly, with the diversity of MBA program options out there, it can be hard to understand the full available range. However, that’s going to be the first thing you need to do in terms of assessing why an MBA is worth it or not.
Like, what precisely are you signing up for here? Let’s have a look.
Traditional MBA programs tend to take 1-2 years to complete. You’ll find in-person instruction and a residential environment targeted at young professionals with a few years of post-college work experience who are looking for something more.
If you’re already engaged with a personal or professional project and don’t want to take time off for MBA study, you still have options! Part-time MBA programs offer weekend and evening classes and typically take a little longer to complete than a traditional MBA, giving you more flexibility for your degree.
You also have plenty of online options if in-person instruction doesn’t fit in with your current life trajectory. Is an online MBA worth it? Definitely, if you’ve got a hold of the right program. Some less-than-top-tier online options might not be worth your while though.
Executive MBA (EMBA) programs target professionals with more extensive career experience who also often hold more senior or leadership-oriented roles. An EMBA gives you more of what you need – and less of what you don’t – if you’re already established in your field and want to take your work game to the next level.
Benefits of earning an MBA
There are lots of reasons why you should get an MBA degree – so we’re just going to give you the most salient points.
Where could you stand to improve as a professional? Could you beef up a bit more on your quants performance? Or maybe you feel like you’d get further if you had better communication knowledge and strategies at your fingertips. An MBA education creates the opportunities you need to become more truly well-rounded, improving your existing strengths and shoring up your professional weak points.
How are you doing with the tech curve? Would learning more about cutting-edge technology give you an added edge, too? With the pace of business in the 21st century, you’ve got to stay on the ball when it comes to updating your skills. Top MBA programs train you in the most up-to-date strategies, technologies, and approaches, giving you the tools you need to succeed.
An MBA isn’t something that you do alone. In fact, the company you keep during your MBA studies is another major selling point for top MBA programs. When we get asked at The MBA Exchange, “Is it worth getting an MBA from a lower-tier school,” we typically advise our clients to think about the value of those lost networking opportunities and reconsider trying for a higher-ranked program.
It’s not just your classmates you connect with – a top-tier MBA program puts you in touch with faculty and staff, as well as alumni networks and exclusive peeks behind the curtain of the industries of the future. It’s hard to put a dollar value on that kind of network and what it can do for you.
Increased earning potential
We can put a number to the financial benefits of getting an MBA, even after the disruptions and shifts of the pandemic. The potential career and lifetime earning benefits of the degree are a big reason why getting an MBA is worth it.
Here are some hard facts and figures for your interest:
- The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2022 Corporate Recruiters Survey places the median MBA salary at $115,000
- GMAC reports heightened demand from recruiters for MBA, with 95% of surveyed recruiters expecting this trend to continue in the next few years
- In 2023, the Financial Times published a report showing that MBA’s from the top ranking schools are earning more than $200,000 a year.
Financially speaking, an MBA degree can definitely be worth it! Many MBA graduates find it easy to pay off student loan investments after post-graduation earning potential and career development boosts.
Weighing Pros and Cons of an MBA
As you weigh your options for an MBA going into 2023, what should you take into consideration? The pros of an MBA degree include the benefits enumerated above, as well as the satisfaction of attempting and achieving a reach goal like a higher degree.
While pursuing an MBA degree offers numerous benefits, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks before making a decision. Here are some cons to keep in mind:
- Cost: MBA programs can be quite expensive, with tuition fees, living expenses, and potential opportunity costs if you leave your job to pursue full-time studies. The financial burden of an MBA degree should be carefully considered, as it may take time to recoup the investment.
- Time commitment: MBA programs typically require a significant time commitment, especially if you choose a full-time or part-time option while working. Balancing work, personal life, and rigorous coursework can be challenging and may impact your overall work-life balance.
- Limited focus: While an MBA provides a broad business education, it may not offer the depth of specialization in a specific area that some careers require. If you have a clear career path in mind or are looking to specialize in a niche field, an MBA may not be the most efficient route.
With all that said, MBA degrees tend to pay for themselves pretty rapidly post-graduation and are more often than not a worthwhile investment in terms of both money and time. And, okay, if you don’t want to put in the effort, then you can hang out in the middle of the pack. But maybe you want to lead?
Why Get an MBA?
To bridge the gap between your current situation and your desired future, it’s important to identify the relevant challenges you face. Are you falling behind your peers in terms of achievements and career progression? Are you struggling to work effectively with colleagues from different business disciplines? Do you aspire to reach the CEO’s office? Or are you simply aiming to exceed your own expectations and achieve your personal best?
If any of these gaps resonate with you, pursuing a top-quality MBA degree could be a valuable solution. We’ll tell you why and share some anecdotes from individuals who decided to pursue MBA’s.
The gap between you and your peers
No matter your age, the visible achievements of others in your college graduating class are, and will remain, a yardstick to measure your progress. These peers are the former classmates who proudly announce their latest promotions in alumni newsletters, boast of their latest mega-deal and seem always to be in the right place at the right time.
It’s like a lifelong class reunion. Looking around the room, literally or figuratively, how many of your peers have loftier titles on their nametags or smile more convincingly when describing their future prospects? Just a few? Or most? If the gap between you and the high flyers is substantial – and seems to be expanding – a top-quality MBA degree may be one answer.
The gap between you and your business associates
Most managers are identified with a particular business discipline. The most common are operations, finance, marketing, information and human resources. On a daily basis, you deal with associates who represent most of these disciplines. To grow and succeed, you must be able to communicate effectively and work productively with colleagues, clients and suppliers who have very different priorities and perspectives from your own. Those who can’t pull this off are likely destined to either remain a lower-level specialist or, more likely, get replaced by someone with that broader perspective.
If you want to make the leap from specialist to generalist, spanning business disciplines and industries, a top-quality MBA education may be your key. At business school, students learn the “language” of each functional specialty. Furthermore, many MBA programs emphasize team projects in which you are part of a cross-functional group working through real-world business issues.
The gap between you and the CEO’s office
CEOs often come from middle management backgrounds, where they have developed a broad understanding of various business aspects. An MBA degree can help you stand out and gain visibility early on in your career. It equips you with problem-solving skills, a global perspective, leadership abilities, and innovative thinking—all qualities necessary for high-level success in today’s business landscape. Furthermore, the networking opportunities provided by a top-notch MBA program can open doors to valuable connections and influential individuals throughout your career.
The gap between you and your “personal best”
You know far better than anyone else does when you are truly successful. Beyond meeting your own standards, this means exceeding those standards and then raising the bar. It has been said that success occurs at the intersection of opportunity, ability and motivation. Frequently, though, one or two of these variables are missing. You can become frustrated, feeling trapped and unable to proceed, not knowing how to realize your full potential.
While there are no guarantees, the truth is that people can improve their odds of reaching a personal best. Winners learn how to create opportunities, neutralize weaknesses, develop higher abilities and boost motivation. Such confidence and proficiencies can be sharpened by the rigor of a quality MBA education.
In summary, while the decision to pursue an MBA is highly individual, it remains a valuable investment for many individuals in 2023. Whether you seek to close the gap with your peers, business associates, CEO-level positions, or your personal best, an MBA degree can equip you with the skills, knowledge, and network needed to excel in your career and achieve your goals.
Should I Get An MBA?
If you want to lead at the edge of the 21st century, not follow it, an MBA could be the right fuel for your future. Is this the year you start your journey toward earning an MBA degree and unlocking the next level of your professional potential? If you’re answering affirmatively to any or all of these questions, partnering with The MBA Exchange gives you the strongest possible start. Our team of top MBA consultants can help you size up your candidacy in order to make the most of your opportunities and address potential weaknesses. Fill out our free consultation form and find out how The MBA Exchange can get you that much closer to your MBA and career goals.