You’ve probably heard that an advanced business degree delivers professional opportunities, higher earning potential, and prestige. What business students don’t mention is that the right school can also build your trade skills, expand your network, and make you a better manager.
Regardless of your specialization, an MBA can help you climb almost any career ladder. Your success begins with the program you choose.
A traditional, full-time MBA divides core curriculum and specialized courses over one or two years, along with a break for internships. With so many program options, the traditional MBA can benefit students with specific professional goals or people with less-defined career paths. Keep in mind that you may need to spend two years away from your current job in order to complete a traditional MBA, and that can pose a challenge— even for those who plan to pursue a new field after graduation.
Executive MBAs also span over two years, but students continue working and often receive company funding for school. While traditional MBA candidates generally enter their programs with roughly four years of work experience, executive MBA candidates have worked in their fields for a decade or more. EMBAs rarely offer career services, since employers sponsor students.
Like the executive MBA, this degree allows students to work full-time. These programs appeal to a range of experience levels, and offer similar amenities to traditional MBAs. The main downside for some students is that it can be difficult to balance school with other obligations.
Students that thrive in a self-study environment should consider online programs. These degrees offer more financial and geographic flexibility, as well as more scheduling options. However, online degrees may not offer as many student services as programs on a physical campus, and some employers may not favor them.
Many schools now offer subject-specific business degrees in areas such as finance or management. These degrees can take 12 months or less to earn. Depending on the program, you may not even need full-time work experience. Students looking for specialized jobs may benefit more from a program tailored to their topic of interest, though they may not carry as much weight as an MBA.
Other Factors to Consider
You can’t earn an advanced business degree on a whim; many factors will influence your commitment to a program. Consider how another degree can advance your career, whether you can afford the costs, and how much it will foster personal growth. Rushing into additional schooling without a clear purpose wastes time and money, and may not deliver any benefits.
Continued education in business could get you a bigger paycheck, better management skills, and more knowledge about your trade — but only if you find the right program at the right time. Weigh your options carefully before investing in a new degree, and choose the one that fits you best.