Summary. Getting an MBA (Master of Business Administration) takes a lot of time, money, and effort. So it’s important to really think about whether or not it is worth your while to pursue one. Here are some things to consider.
Getting an MBA (Master of Business Administration) takes a lot of time, money, and effort. So it’s important to really think about whether or not it is worth your while to pursue one. Here are some things to consider.
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To MBA, or not to MBA? For many young professionals, that is the question.
An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a graduate degree focused on building leadership skills and learning business principles. But for the majority of students, MBAs offer much more than that: a stronger professional network, access to job opportunities, and a bigger paycheck.
Some of these benefits manifest sooner than others. Those accepted into highly ranked programs gain almost immediate access to seasoned staff who can help them make connections, and they can expect a significant pay bump upon graduation. The average salary for graduates from top schools is typically in the six figures.
But sometimes, the full impact of an MBA can take a few years to come to fruition, and if you’re in it for the wrong reasons, you might not achieve the outcomes you want.
Given the amount of time, money, and effort that an MBA really requires, it’s important to think about where you fit into this equation before deciding whether or not it is worth your while to pursue one.
For the past decade, a part of my job as themanaging director of the Career Management Center at the Kellogg School of Management has been to advise students on their careers and help potential candidates weigh this decision. Based on my experience, here some things to consider as you debate it yourself.
The Right Reasons
To future-ready your career. In my daily conversations with MBA alumni and executives, I hear about the importance of “future-ready skills.” But what does this really mean? It means that more and more companies are looking to come out of the pandemic stronger than they were before by pivoting and adjusting their business models. Hiring the right talent with the right skills is an important piece of that. You should have the same mindset. Ask yourself: “How can I expand my skillset and capabilities to be the best candidate for these roles?”
The skills many organizations are looking for range from empathy and team management to understanding how to look ahead, set strategic goals, and influence stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. Students looking to develop skills around influence often have unique opportunities to do so during the MBA experience.
Many enter case study competitions that emulate the challenges businesses face today and require the students to pitch solutions to a panel of judges. Importantly, everyone in these programs also learns how to improve their communication and collaboration skills by participating in group projects with people from all walks of life. Soft skills like this are key to MBA classes in addition to rigorous analytical work.
An MBA could be key in acquiring the experience you need to have a competitive advantage in the job market — and this is not a bad reason to pursue one.
To explore new industries or functions. If you’re looking to make a career pivot, an MBA may help you face that challenge with open eyes. Business school is a great time to gain exposure to peers, faculty, and a network of alumni from many professional backgrounds — as well as class projects and case studies that dive deeply into different industries and sectors.
Take the example of one student I recently spoke with. She has two career ambitions: to pivot into biopharmaceuticals and to lead an organization one day. She decided an MBA degree would allow her to accomplish both goals because she will be introduced to resources that will help her learn about and more easily transition into a new industry, and attain the leadership skills she will need 10, or even 20, years down the road.
Some students even come to business school to explore an entrepreneurial path. They typically go on to launch their own startups, or join early-stage firms, including those founded by alums.
Something to note about the MBA is that you can apply it to most industries. For people who don’t know what industry is right for them yet, there are a series of specializations and concentrations you can explore in these programs, like strategy, corporate finance, and operations.
That said, even if your heart is in the right place, I’d recommend doing your research, and maybe even getting a couple years of hands-on work experience, to help you figure out what areas you want to focus on before pursuing this degree. Once you’re in it, you want to choose the classes, opportunities, and events that satisfy your ambitions and makes the best use of your time.
To accelerate your career path. Not everyone who pursues an MBA wants to make a dramatic change. Many are looking to pick up the pace of their professional development within a certain industry or at their current company. A part of that involves gaining access to more senior roles with higher salaries.
The average starting salary for MBA grads (class of 2020) is $20,000 a year more than those with an undergraduate business degree, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But that’s not all. Graduates from top MBA programs often land positions that put them on an accelerated path into leadership. The reason is simple: Employers expect graduates of these programs to have the academic, interpersonal, and leadership skills to solve complex business problems.
Accelerated MBA programs are also an option for people looking to earn the degree in a shorter period of time. Kellogg launched the first one-year MBA program more than 50 years ago for candidates with the focus and discipline to earn their degree in 12 months, and other schools like Cornell and Duke have added similar offerings. The accelerated option is not for everyone, but if you have a business background and the need for speed, it may be the answer.
To expand and diversify your network. A part of enrolling in business school is becoming part of a community of future leaders and well-connected alumni. At Kellogg, our global alumni network spans 65,000 people across more than 15 industries. Those connections add up, and the case is similar at many programs. I was recently talking with a graduate who was in the running for a job at a large e-commerce tech company, but suddenly became stuck in the hiring process. An alum with connections at that company made an inquiry, discovered the issue was a delay in HR, and provided a recommendation that moved her application forward.
Most MBA programs offer access to networking events hosted by clubs and employers, as well as affinity networks and student-led conferences — all opportunities that could expand your reach, and therefore, your chances of success in the business world.
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The Wrong Reasons
You’re looking for a magic pill. An MBA isn’t a “golden ticket” that will automatically admit you to higher-paying jobs with bigger responsibilities. It takes passion, proactivity, and hard work to expand your knowledge and skills. And MBA programs are just that: very hard work. Most students who enroll have a track record of professional success and are seeking further development. I wouldn’t recommend applying if your goal is only to gain money or power.
If you are feeling doubts about your current role, or struggling to advance at the pace you want, there are other steps you can take first. For example, you can step up at work by asking your manager for a stretch project in your area of interest and seeking out their critical feedback. You can also try cultivating relationships with people whose careers you admire to find out what they did to get where they are. With this level of engagement, you might learn more about what you really want, set new goals, and be positioned to take full advantage of an MBA program when, and if, you choose to pursue one later on.
Your parents offer to pay for it. While having the financial support of your parents is tempting, don’t let that be the only reason you apply to business school. You really do need to be “all in”— for yourself and your career. Students who get the most out of business school and reap the benefits in the future are those who want to stretch themselves academically, professionally, and personally.
If you’re not “all in,” there are many other ways you can learn about new concepts and industries without spending that large sum of money. You can take advantage of online platforms, go to conferences, or even participate in volunteer programs to build your skills and your network.
While we’re on the subject of money, it’s worth noting thatcost is something you will want to consider when thinking about business school. Around 51% of MBA students end up taking out student loans to finance their education. At the same time, cost alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor. There are plenty of other ways to pay for an MBA, like through fellowships and employer sponsorship.
You’re bored. Your current job bores you, and you don’t have any other options right now. So, the default is to go to business school. Right? Wrong. This is probably not the right step, at least not until you’ve done some more reflection. Boredom can take the form of frustration — with not being recognized, not getting better projects, watching others get promoted. This is an invitation to pause and reflect: Why are these opportunities going to other people and not you? What skills do you need? Will it change how others perceive you? By reflecting on these questions, you can gain insight into your current situation. If you don’t, you could end up asking yourself, “Why did I even go to business school?”
That’s the real question: Why? Continue to think about where you are, where you want to go, and what it will take to get you there. Only then will you be able to make the right decision.
The only answer to these questions is learning while doing an MBA at 30 or 40! You need to become a master at solving these real-life problems. And giving a break to your life to learn something new, to understand the shades of leadership, an MBA after 30 is the best option, and you can never be too late for an MBA.Is MBA worth it after 30? ›
The only answer to these questions is learning while doing an MBA at 30 or 40! You need to become a master at solving these real-life problems. And giving a break to your life to learn something new, to understand the shades of leadership, an MBA after 30 is the best option, and you can never be too late for an MBA.Is an MBA still worth it in 2023? ›
The easy answer is yes—go for it. Chances are high that you will make more money, have a better knowledge base that can propel your career forward, and make connections that will position you for future success.What are the disadvantages of MBA? ›
|Personal and entrepreneurial skill development||Time commitment|
|Specialized in the field of interest with management skills||Lack of practical and applied learning|
|High salary||Risk of ROI|
|Career up-gradation||Lack of work experience|
A professional with an MBA can also expect their total annual earnings to exceed their base salary. For example, many individuals earning business administration salaries can also expect to earn perks such as signing bonuses, performance bonuses and stock options.Is 40 too old for an MBA? ›
Still, you can be comforted in knowing that there is no age limit for higher learning. In fact, an MBA at 40 could deliver many unique benefits above and beyond those enjoyed by younger students. Still not convinced? You might change your mind once you realize how much you stand to gain from earning your MBA after 40.Is 40 to old for an MBA? ›
Whether it's an online degree or a part-time program with flexible timing, it is easily possible to obtain an MBA after 40. You might find yourself rediscovering the joy of learning. As you can see, the qualification can truly help propel your career and open new doors for you.What is the average age entering MBA? ›
The bottom line is you're never too old or experienced to get an MBA. The average age of a full-time MBA student is 28 years old but that is just an average. Countless 30 something's have received their MBAs at tops schools in the US and Europe and reaped the lifelong benefits of doing so.What is the average age to complete an MBA? ›
The average MBA student is 28 years old.
With the middle 80% age range of MBA students being 25-31 years old. This is very consistent within all of the major US colleges, with most average ages ranging between 27-29 years old.
An MBA is only worth the expense, time, and effort when the graduate plans to work in a business-related field, in management, or as a company founder. An MBA may not be useful for those working in other industries unless they are in management or leadership roles. Not all MBA degrees are created equal.
- Time management. Learn to use different tools to organize your time. ...
- Business course preparation. The International MBA curriculum is meant to challenge you to learn new skills and expertise. ...
- Career connections.
Do Employers Care Where You Get Your MBA? The answer depends on your intended employer. Some companies focus on where candidates earned their MBAs, while others prioritize the degree specialization or relevant work experience.How difficult is an MBA? ›
Earning your MBA will be difficult; however, it should be an experience that challenges you to take risks in pursuit of higher learning, Beaver says. “Grad school is a collaborative setting where both faculty and students help you to be successful throughout the journey.”What is the average salary for MBA in USA? ›
The average salary of an MBA graduate in USA is $115,000 per annum. The demand for MBA graduates kept increasing as 92% of employers hired MBA graduates in 2022. MBA degree is the most popular course that international students are willing to pursue in abroad countries.Is an MBA worth it at 50? ›
The answer is that each person is different. For some, enrolling in an MBA or Executive MBA (EMBA) could be the best option for personal and professional growth; even at the age of 50. For others, it could be a bad investment, offering few benefits while you fork out a huge sum of money.Which MBA degree pays the most? ›
- Data Analytics.
- International Business.
- Investment Management.
- Innovation Management.
Although most incoming MBA classes have an average age in the late 20s, you're never too old to apply to business school. Age is not a criterion considered in the admissions process. If you have the academic and professional experience required, you're old enough to apply for an MBA.Who is the oldest MBA graduate? ›
The way 77-year-old David Morris sees it, he's in the final quarter, the last season of his life. Yet unlike so many others his age, Morris isn't counting himself out.What is the average work experience for MBA? ›
Three to five years of work experience is the ideal amount for a traditional MBA program, Varaiya says. He has accepted MBA applicants directly out of college in rare cases of exceptional academic credentials, but he advises MBA hopefuls to spend a few years in the workforce before heading to business school.How much is Harvard MBA tuition? ›
After all, the average age of an entering Harvard MBA student is 27 with several years of work experience.How much do Harvard MBA graduates make? ›
|Median base salary||$175,000|
|Median signing bonus||$30,000|
|Job sectors||Business Development, Finance, Consulting, Marketing, General Management, Strategic Planning|
The 'E' in EMBA stands for executive—but that doesn't necessarily mean EMBAs are superior to MBAs. They're essentially the same degree, but EMBAs are structured for current (rather than aspiring) executives and tend to be more flexible to accommodate busy schedules.What is an MBA good for? ›
An MBA can enhance your marketability as a professional and increase the quality and quantity of job opportunities. Over 98% of Wharton MBA graduates are extended full-time job offers. An MBA also helps you build business leadership skills, as well as a professional network.What is the average age of a master student? ›
AVERAGE AGE: 29.8 years old
Of course, the average master student age is dictated by when they complete their undergraduate and this is typically in their early 20s. However, there are many people who do their masters at a much older age due to: career change.
While they share many similarities, the important distinction is that an MBA is simply a type of master's degree in general business administration, while a master's degree in business involves more concentrated study in areas like accounting, business analytics, or human resources.How many people have an MBA? ›
|Current Total Of All MBA Students||250,389||155,996|
|Current Full-Time MBA Students||78,061||43,740|
|Current Part-Time MBA Students||127,844||82,322|
|Current Online MBA Students||53,231||45,038|
Earning your MBA right after graduating with your bachelor's can set you up for success in an advanced degree program, since you'll seamlessly utilize the study habits you developed as an undergrad and adapt them, as needed, for your MBA program.What GPA is too low for MBA? ›
What constitutes a low GPA? There is no one particular answer for it but generally, a score lower than 3.0 GPA may be considered “low GPA”, at least, for the Tier 1 MBA schools. If you wish to target the top MBA programs (M7) or T10, you may want to have a safe ground at 3.2+.Is it possible to fail an MBA? ›
Can you fail an MBA program? Yes, students can fail an MBA program. Students with low grades or those who fail to complete coursework may not complete their degree. MBA programs reserve the right to expel students for poor academic performance.
Business schools invest in expert faculty. Top MBA professors often have extensive industry experience as well as strong academic credentials, and this knowledge comes at a cost.Is an MBA a lot of math? ›
MBA programs typically require basic math skills. Students should be able to: Perform conversions on percentages, fractions, and decimals. Represent numbers as percentages, fractions, and decimals.Is an MBA harder than a Masters? ›
Is an MBA harder than a master's? The difficulty of a program depends entirely on the institution. Both an MBA and master's in business are graduate-level programs, and meet the same rigorous academic standards. So, neither option is inherently easier than the other.Which is the easiest MBA degree? ›
- University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Charlton College of Business. ...
- Southern Utah University Dixie L. ...
- William Woods University Graduate College. ...
- Husson University College of Business. ...
- Indiana Tech College of Business. ...
- Louisiana State University Shreveport School of Business.
Can You Complete an MBA While Working? Working while studying is a popular choice for experienced professionals. No matter where you are in your career and education, you'll have several options when it comes to balancing your career and academic goals.Does an MBA stand out on a resume? ›
Adding an MBA to your resume is a great way to impress recruiters and pique their interest. Generally, you should list an MBA in your resume's Education section. All general education rules apply for your MBA, too. MBAs work great with the reverse chronological resume format.How do I justify my MBA to my employer? ›
- New skills and techniques. ...
- Immediate return. ...
- A 'bigger picture' understanding. ...
- Better communication and team building skills. ...
- Networking opportunities. ...
- Learning from the best. ...
- Succession planning. ...
- Sharing your expertise.
Nearly every MBA course requires students to develop their written communication in one way or another. For some classes, you may learn how to develop a detailed business plan or write a budget report, while other courses are dedicated to the intricacies of industry-specific writing styles.How hard is an online MBA? ›
An online MBA degree has the same difficulty level as any business program. In addition, learners need to possess discipline, time management, and exceptional organizational skills to stay on top of their work.How long is an MBA thesis? ›
How long is an MBA thesis? Length and time requirements vary between programs, but a thesis often takes two semesters to complete, resulting in a document of 40-80+ pages.
The estimated total pay for a MBA Pathways Operations Manager at Amazon is $217,287 per year.What are the highest paying jobs for MBA graduates in USA? ›
|Job Role||Average Annual Salary (in INR)|
|Business Development Director||81.81 lakhs|
|Project Manager||58.09 lakhs|
|Operations Manager||74.39 lakhs|
|Senior Accountant||53.35 lakhs|
- 1) Finance Management.
- 2) Marketing Management.
- 3) Human Resource Management.
- 4) Business Analytics.
- 5) IT Management.
- 6) Healthcare Management.
- 7) Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
- 8) Operations Management.
The easy answer is yes—go for it. Chances are high that you will make more money, have a better knowledge base that can propel your career forward, and make connections that will position you for future success.Is an MBA worth it for entrepreneurs? ›
An MBA isn't the holy grail for entrepreneurs; many founders find success without a business degree. But when it comes to the success of a business, the odds are stacked against you. Why not increase your chances by boosting your skills, network, and the resources available to you by studying an MBA.Is 36 too old for an MBA? ›
It is never too late to pursue higher education specially if your career progresses from it. However at 36 you need to do a cost benefit analysis. Just like pitroncoso suggests Executive MBA may have the least opportunity cost. But it will completely depend on your circumstances and your goals.Does MBA increase your salary? ›
A Higher Average Salary Is Not the Only Compensation
A professional with an MBA can also expect their total annual earnings to exceed their base salary. For example, many individuals earning business administration salaries can also expect to earn perks such as signing bonuses, performance bonuses and stock options.
- Project Manager. Project managers are responsible for the smooth functioning of the project. ...
- Business Analyst. ...
- Digital Marketing Manager. ...
- Business Operations Manager. ...
- Finance Manager. ...
- SAP Consultant. ...
- Business Intelligence Analyst. ...
- Product Manager.
10 years out of an MBA, a senior partner at a firm like BCG can expect to earn between $500,000-$700,000 per year. There are also MBA job opportunities at an array of boutique consulting firms, many of which offer MBA grads starting salaries of at least $155,000.Is 35 too late for MBA? ›
Age is not a criterion considered in the admissions process. If you have the academic and professional experience required, you're old enough to apply for an MBA. Your age and experience can also give you a couple of advantages.
“You're never too old,” declared NYU Stern Associate Dean of MBA Admissions and Program Innovation, Isser Gallogly, during a panel discussion at last year's CentreCourt MBA Festival in New York City. “It comes down to work experience, it depends on what your background is and what your goals are.”Is 36 too old for MBA? ›
It is never too late to pursue higher education specially if your career progresses from it. However at 36 you need to do a cost benefit analysis. Just like pitroncoso suggests Executive MBA may have the least opportunity cost. But it will completely depend on your circumstances and your goals.Is 30 too old for Harvard MBA? ›
You are NEVER too old to benefit from a top MBA. What do you predict will happen with Harvard, Stanford, and other elite MBA program applications this fall given the impact of the coronavirus? What are the benefits of doing an MBA in top business schools like Harvard, Stanford GSB, Wharton, etc?What is the average age of people taking MBA? ›
The average MBA student is 28 years old.
With the middle 80% age range of MBA students being 25-31 years old. This is very consistent within all of the major US colleges, with most average ages ranging between 27-29 years old. However, it is important to note that there are students outside of this age range.
Studies suggest that the best age for pursuing a normal MBA course in India is 25-27, and for an Executive MBA, it is 28-30. However, these are just numbers, and remember that you can do an MBA at any age! You can reach out to MBA degree holders and visit B-schools for additional information.Is it worth getting an MBA at 50? ›
The answer is that each person is different. For some, enrolling in an MBA or Executive MBA (EMBA) could be the best option for personal and professional growth; even at the age of 50. For others, it could be a bad investment, offering few benefits while you fork out a huge sum of money.Is 29 too old for Harvard MBA? ›
Only 7.2%, or 67 students in the Class of 2017, entered Harvard's MBA program at age 30 or above, with eight to more than ten years of work experience. So once you hit 30, the odds quickly diminish for an admit. At exactly 30 years of age, only 2.7%, or 25 people, were admitted. At 31, only 19 got in, just 2.0%.What is Executive MBA? ›
What is an EMBA program? An executive MBA program, also known as an EMBA program, is designed for students who are further along in their careers and want to continue working full-time while in school. Schedules vary among programs, but most offer part-time formats like weekend classes.What is the average age of Harvard MBA students? ›
Share if you like the post: Average age of the class at HBS is 27 years.What is the minimum GPA for MBA in Harvard? ›
There is no minimum GPA to apply, although our students usually have strong undergraduate records. Undergraduate academics are just one factor the Admissions Board uses to evaluate a candidate.
Anyone can go to Harvard.