Graduate school is an enormous undertaking. It takes money. A lot of it. And it takes time. That’s something that is in short supply for working professionals. Is it worth getting an MBA when you are already a working professional?
In this article, we take a look at how and when getting a graduate degree can help you advance in your career and make more money. Read on to learn if getting an MBA is relevant in your industry.
Short answer? If you’re reading this article, chances are the answer is yes.
Oh, you’re still here! You want more? Fine.
MBA degrees are and will always be relevant because they equip you with the most up-to-date advanced-level business skills. That’s not to say that you can’t be effective at your work without one. However, it does mean that you give yourself a competitive advantage by getting one. And in business, competitive advantages are always a good thing.
Below, we take a look at exactly what you get for taking on more student loans and forking over a few years of your life for an MBA.
MBA Degree = Increased Leverage
One of the most immediate rewards of getting an MBA is that your degree comes with built-in career leverage. If you are already employed, you can go to your boss and start talking dollars and cents. Many businesses provide built-in raises for employees that have an MBA.
Those who don’t will almost certainly be receptive to talking the matter over. Why? It’s not because they are desperate to pay you more money. It’s because they know that if they don’t, someone else will.
Businesses want MBAs so much that they are willing to pay more to get them. It doesn’t mean you should expect to double your salary overnight. It does mean you will have an opportunity to ask for more and legitimately expect to get it.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s advisable to request a little bit more than you actually expect to get. Be cautious in choosing the number. Go too high and you won’t be taken seriously. Go too low and you might wind up hitting a number you aren’t happy with.
Chatting with a competitor can help you with career mobility at your current job. It helps to be able to say, “Company X is willing to pay me this much. Now, I’d really rather stay where I am, but what can we do about my salary?”
It’s a power move. Of course, it helps if you are actually willing to work for Company X if salary negotiations don’t go so well.
The nice thing about MBA programs is that many of the people in them will already be working and connected. You’ll make an enormous amount of connections simply by socialising with the people around you.
Now, networking isn’t a magic formula for career mobility. No one actually hands out cushy jobs simply on the strength of friendship. What networking does do is allow you to jump ahead in line. For example, if your classmate, Stephanie, works for a marketing firm that is now taking applications, she might be able to put a good word in for you.
The hiring manager won’t hire you sight unseen, but they probably will take a closer look at your application than they do at the others. In business, even small advantages like this can make all the difference.
An Easier Path to Promotions
The same way business leaders are more likely to provide raises to MBAs, they are also more likely to promote them. High-level jobs receive many applications. The majority of candidates will be experienced and accomplished.
Having a graduate degree helps you stand out amongst the pack. It doesn’t guarantee a promotion, but it certainly helps.
Of course, the primary benefit, the thing you are actually paying for is to refresh your skills. You might be excellent at your job, but if your last business education class took place twelve years ago, chances are your understanding of certain concepts will be outdated. This is particularly true in the context of business technology.
From tech stacks to statistical analysis, digital technology is constantly reshaping the way that things are done. And yet there is an understanding barrier that keeps many businesses from knowing how and when to use it.
Getting your MBA will likely come with a refreshed understanding of business technology along with other concepts.
There has to Be an Easier Way!
Well, sure. You can keep your knowledge fresh through tons of professional development opportunities. Trainings, conferences, and so on. These opportunities are easier and certainly cheaper, but they don’t come with the same pedigree.
Unfair? Maybe, but think about it from the perspective of someone who needs to make an important hire. Candidate A has an undergraduate degree. He seems bright and you can see on his resume that he has routinely refreshed his skills through seminars and training.
Very good, except then there is Candidate B. She has the same level of experience, but she also has an MBA. You’re sure candidate A’s trainings were good, but you know for a fact that candidate B has had a verified education. You know what she learned. Looking at her transcript, you even know how well she learned it.
You hire her. It’s just an easier decision. People with MBAs have valuable proof that their skills are superior. People without them don’t.