There’s some degree of mystique surrounding the MBA. It has almost taken on a mythical aura because people discuss it in the hallways of business in hushed tones. People who have one are often admired by those who do not, even when they’re not really sure what is learned when taking an MBA.
It stands to reason that if you’re also curious about this type of business degree, it’s a good idea to learn more. You can certainly take your time, because embarking on this type of education path is a serious commitment of financial resources and time hitting the books.
Let’s now look at some obvious and a few less so obvious ways to gather information about the MBA.
Seeking Out MBA Alumni
Finding MBA alumni might be easy or difficult for you. There could be someone at your current place of employment who has graduated and perhaps been in the workforce for a few years post-graduation who you can talk to.
A former work colleague from a previous employer might be someone you could contact if you know they completed an MBA, but you never discussed it when you both worked for their employer.
It’s also possible to track down someone online who is willing to discuss the pros and cons of their experience. It would be a good idea to look up their profile on LinkedIn to see where they’re worked previously and establish their credibility first. However, if they’re wanting to be anonymous to protect themselves from recrimination from their employer, then only their words provide clues as to their credibility. One upside to that approach is that they can speak more open and honestly that way.
Is Their Experience Relatable to You?
It’s important to weigh up what you hear or read with its applicability to your situation. There’s a surprisingly wide disparity between the average income from alumni holding an MBA. Part of that is due to their location. For instance, places on the west coast, like California, tend to pay higher than the southern states – but that’s not the only factor.
The pay scale and other career benefits are affected by what jobs are undertaken and in what industries too. Some pay better than others whether you are well qualified or not, but unfortunately that’s just how it is.
Working for a non-profit isn’t going to pay as well as a blue-chip technology company with deeper pockets and stock options to offer in an attractive package. Therefore, it’s necessary to consider any advice you receive and its applicability to your personal situation. Every career is unique and the benefits of graduating with an MBA will also be different.
Attending the MBA Tour
Attending the MBA Tour is a great way to meet like-minded people who have similar business goals in mind. Why Attend the MBA Tour? The answer differs depending on what you expect to get out of it.
If you would like to meet a good selection of top-tier business schools where you can talk with faculty or the college staff about their MBA course(s), then it’s a great place to do that. Instead of trying to do so over the phone or having to fly or drive over to a different college campus each week for a visit, this makes it possible to meet several all in the same venue, which is a great advantage.
The Admissions and Financial sections are interesting too. This provides a way to talk to the admissions staff to fully understand what’s required to enroll in their college. There may also be scholarships or other financial aid available to certain types of students who qualify, so they’re able to answer those questions too.
Understanding Your Goals More Clearly
Once you have copies of the curriculum and have spoken to the right people to appreciate what the typical MBA degree offers, then it’s time to focus on you.
You need to understand what your goals are. This is usually career goals, but it could also be a goal that has some personal and business overlap, like starting a business because you want more of a work/life balance. What would support your goals the best at this time and in the future?
By answering the question of what your near term and future goals are, you get clarity about what the right next move is. Once that’s clear, it’s also easier to figure out which college is the right one for you and indeed whether an MBA ticks all the right boxes.
There are plenty of free resources available to learn more about an MBA. Also, each degree is a little different from electives that vary from college to college. Therefore, it’s possible to specialize with your masters to some extent. Once you’re clearer on your goals moving forward, selecting the right educational path is the easy part.