Armed with the right knowledge before enrolling into a MBA programme, you'll be sure to decide whether or not to register.
Deciding to enter an MBA programme can be daunting. What specialisation should you consider? What jobs are available after graduation? What careers or startups should you intern for? All of these questions can be answered along the way, and you may not find the answer before you take the leap into an MBA.
However, there are a few things you should think about before enrolling. Asking yourself the important questions before signing up for your classes can guarantee you’ll be more prepared during and after your MBA programme. Here are 6 things to consider before getting an MBA.
1. Your after-graduation student loan costs
While an MBA is definitely a great way to help boost your career, it often doesn’t come for free. Even with financial aid, savings, and scholarships, it can be impossible to pay for your online MBA programmes without taking out a student loan.
And even with a boost in salary from your degree, you don’t want to spend the next 10 years paying it off. Weigh out what your student loan will be after graduation with what your expected salary will be to ensure that you’ll come out ahead in the end.
2. If an MBA is right for your career goals
Do you want to be a manager? Do you want to own your own business? Do you want to stick to the career path you’re already following? An MBA may look great on your CV, but it’s not always as useful as you may think.
Unless your ultimate goal is to move into the business world or become a marketing guru, an MBA may be wasted money. For those in artistic careers or jobs that don’t necessarily require a degree for advancement, it may not be wise to spend the money on an MBA. Check with your company to see if an MBA will give you the advancement you want.
3. What your ultimate big picture is
You should know what your big picture is before going into one of the top online MBA programmes. Not only will this allow you to know what classes to take, but it can also help you decide which internships are right for your goals.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, interning with startups can be the best option. Or, if you’re hoping to work while getting your degree, online MBA programmes are the best choice.
4. What specialisations are you most interested in
There are a variety of specialization available for MBAs. And, while getting a general degree may work for most careers, there are others that are perfect for tailoring your career after graduation. From accounting and finances to marketing and entrepreneurial degrees, you can ensure you have the skills and classes needed to get the job you’re looking for. Research specializations before enrolling in classes to make sure you are taking the right ones. You can also see which specializations are the most lucrative and high-paying if that’s your ultimate goal for your MBA.
5. Are you ready to complete the application?
Most people assume that getting into an MBA programme is easy or can be fast. That’s not always the case. Applications can take months to complete or have a variety of prerequisites. Before sending in your application only to get a rejection letter, research what each particular programme expects from applicants.
Community service, pre-acceptance classes, internships, and job experience can all be required before applications will be considered. Also, most applications may require letters of recommendation. Ensure you have people available to write those well in advance of your application. You don’t want them to seem rushed.
6. What schools you should apply to
Lastly, deciding which schools to apply to is key to knowing if an MBA is right for you. When it comes to online MBA programmes, finding ones that are accredited and established in your industry or in your desired line of work is crucial. You don’t want to spend the money on a programme that isn’t recognised.
Research which schools are best for your desired specialisations, which will take your scholarships, or which you’re able to attend based test scores. Remember, not all schools are created equal, and it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each before applying.
Tiffany Rowe is a writer for Seek Visibility, contributing regularly to Careers24’s career advice section, with a focus on the finance sector. She is passionate about developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.