Are you considering a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree, but aren’t sure if the costs will outweigh the benefits?
For some people, the idea of business school brings to mind debt and hard years of studying — but the good news is, there are so many ways to earn your degree without breaking the bank, sacrificing work/life balance, or losing your current job.
In today’s highly connected technical world, access to MBA programs is broader and more affordable than ever before, and anyone from any country has the ability to benefit from the graduate program. While it’s not a surefire way to success for all, getting your MBA can set you up for a higher salary, a broader network, expanded chances to be an entrepreneur, and connect you with people you may have otherwise never come into contact with.
Reasons to Do an MBA
Along with holding an MBA and expanding your earning potential, an MBA provides multiple life skills.
Here’s an abbreviated list of some of the major skills you will learn in business school:
Business school connects you to people from all around the world in different stages of their lives. From current business owners to aspiring entrepreneurs, you will network with a broad range of individuals who could very possibly become your future business partners.
The coursework is often structured around group projects, so you’ll learn how to lead teams and work well with others, just like what you typically need to be able to do in any work environment.
3. Risk Management:
All businesses involve risks, but MBA programs will teach you how to take risks in the most effective way to limit downfall. It’ll prepare you with analytical skills and training to take quality-controlled chances.
While some programs are two years in length, there are accelerated options to finish in one year. Additionally, programs at online schools like University of the People allow you to take as little as one course per semester if you’d like to study part-time while working. If you’re able to take the program full-time, you can finish in as little as six terms, or just over one year.
Costs and Ways to Afford the Program
On average, MBA programs in the United States cost around $50,000 per year, although they vary greatly based on location, online versus offline, and private versus public institutions. The best way to budget and assess the costs is to visit the website of your desired university as most of them outline projected costs and offer the ways in which you can obtain financial assistance.
While $50,000 is surely a big number for most people to swallow, what if you could earn your MBA practically for free? At the University of the People, you can do exactly that with our tuition-free program which reduces the costs substantially. Find out more about it here.
If that doesn’t sound appealing and you still want to go to a specific school, there are multiple ways to still afford the degree, including:
- Scholarships & Grants
- Financial Aid
- Corporate Assistance
- Part-Time Jobs
Where there are costs, there are also benefits. Having an MBA puts you in a good position to excel up the corporate ladder more quickly, increase your salary, and/or start your own business.
In fact, year over year, the job opportunities for business graduates has increased from 22% to 28%. With increasing competition in fields like investment banking and capital markets, having a MBA degree is proving to be more beneficial for job seekers than it was before.
Here are some of the most common career opportunities that MBA graduates take:
- Banking and Finance
- Venture Capitalist
- Product Manager
- Marketing Management and Market Research
- Operations Management and Logistics
- Human Resources
Of course, it’s possible to be successful in any of these career choices without an MBA. But with one, you’re automatically setting yourself up for a higher salary and a way to move up the corporate ladder faster than working your way up from an entry-level position.
Having the degree signals to employers that whether or not you have business experience, you’ve obtained the practical knowledge and developed the necessary skills to thrive in a business environment.
Where to Do It
MBA programs are available at online institutions or offline universities. While most programs require a Graduate Records Examination (GRE) to apply, along with an undergraduate degree and certain GPA requirements, not all are that strict during the admissions process. Again, it’s useful to make a list of the schools you’re interested in and check out their website to see their requirements for admission.
If you haven’t taken the GRE, there are still programs that have less requirements, like the University of the People, which only requires: an undergraduate degree, English proficiency, a letter of recommendation, and a resume with two years of work experience.
All schools value different aspects of the application requirements in different degrees of importance, so don’t let one requirement stop you from trying or applying!
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Since everyone’s priorities and reasoning for an MBA is different, it’s hard to say whether or not it’s right for you without considering your own financial and career outlook situation. Nevertheless, here’s a quick look as some of the most commonly cited pros and cons of acquiring an MBA.
1. Expand Your Network:
Many MBA programs set you up with professionals in businesses to provide in-field experience.
2. Develop Useful Skills:
One of the biggest skills that business school teaches is problem-solving. You’ll have opportunities to work out common business problems and devise creative solutions.
3. Boost Your Earning Potential:
Having an MBA provides you with a better chance of landing top management positions, which pay higher than junior roles.
1. Student Debt:
Schools cost money — some tuitions are really high, while others are extremely affordable. Before racking up debt, try financial solutions like tuition-free universities, scholarships, grants, financial aid, and asking your employer for assistance if you continue to work part-time.
2. Cyclical Economy:
Some things are out of your control in terms of job prospects as the economy works in cycles. But the good news is that even if the market is currently in a recession, it will eventually bounce back and your degree is evergreen.
3. Opportunity Cost:
Along with the financial costs of paying for a degree, you have to weigh the salary you’re forgoing in a job while studying. That’s called the opportunity cost, but again, the upside is that once you graduate with an MBA, your salary will be higher so you can make that money back more quickly.
Success is Possible
Regardless of your reasoning for obtaining a MBA, your success is possible and mostly inside your control. If financing your degree is the only doubt in your mind for obtaining an MBA, definitely get the degree and use the resources outlined in this article to help you overcome that hurdle.
Going into a Master’s program means hard work and time management skills, but it will also provide you with multiple opportunities that you may otherwise never come across. Along with the increase in earning potential that an MBA provides, the people you meet, and skills you learn are unique to earning the degree.