Getting your MBA is one of the best ways to advance your career. An MBA shows dedication, knowledge, and drive, and is one of the best ways to secure a higher paying and more enjoyable position within your company. Back in the day, MBAs were sometimes seen as a waste of time, as you would end up attaining a job with the same pay as an undergraduate who had started working there when you had begun your graduate degree; however, with the larger number of people earning graduate degrees, an MBA is soon turning out to be the minimum standard for many employers in hiring. Due to the importance of such a degree, especially in the world of business, an MBA program is not without its challenges. If you are considering returning to get your business degree, make sure you’re aware of these 5 truths about the rigors of MBA programs:
1. Long Hours
There may have been some sleepless nights cramming for an exam in college, but getting your business degree takes it to another level. Many courses in your MBA program will examine case studies to reflect key business principles. This means students will sometimes have to analyze thousands of pages of materials to make informed decisions on them, which means you might have to skip out on many nights of partying with your buddies, or even spending time with your family if you have one. It will be worth it in the long run, but make sure that you are prepared to sacrifice a lot of time, sleep, and effort in order to do the research needed and make the connections necessary to finish your graduate degree.
2. The Balance of Life and School
Remember how stressful it was to be thousands of dollars in debt and not making a sustainable income in college? That’s basically what happens during a full-time MBA program. Unless you plan on going part-time or online, it’s very difficult to hold any kind of regular job, which can be very stressful financially. If this is an extreme problem for you, consider interning or working for a few years at a company that will pay for your degree for you. This may come with the expectation that you will work for them for a long period afterward in return, but if you enjoy that kind of work, it may be the perfect way to continue your education without going into too much debt.
3. Understand Your Goals
Some people return to business school just because they don’t have any better ideas. If you decide to get your MBA, make sure you have a specific reason for doing so. Returning to school might sound exciting, but if you don’t have a plan for using your MBA, you will end up spending a lot of money for a degree that’s not worth it. Think of a specific goal of a career you have in mind. This will give you motivation to pursue it, a goal for you to research the requirements for, and a source of encouragement when you feel burned out from studying.
4. Course Selection
One of the best parts of an MBA program is the ability to focus in on classes that are of interest to you. Unlike in an undergrad program, there are minimal general education requirements, meaning you get to cut straight to the classes that interest you most. Focus on specializing in the field you most enjoy or most want to work for in business, whether that be finance, marketing, international management, nonprofit, or something else. Now is the time for you to focus on being the type of businessperson you want to be for the rest of your career.
5. Myths about the GMAT
Most people assume that to get into a good MBA program, they have to take the GMAT. This simply isn’t true. There are a number of very reputable MBA programs that do not require a GMAT score for applicants. If test-taking isn’t your strong suit and you’d rather save a few hundred dollars in testing fees, consider checking out a program that doesn’t require its applicants to take the test.