Choosing to study an MBA or Masters degree is an excellent decision to advance your career. In most organisations, senior management roles or promotions are often tied to a higher education degree such as an MBA or a Masters, as it denotes that an individual has achieved the necessary level of experience and skill to be an eligible candidate for the programme. However, once this decision is made, there are quite a few choices to evaluate before taking the final step. This article outlines some of these, to help you make the best decision for your life and circumstances.
Short-term vs long-term benefit of an MBA or a Masters degree
The crux of the question boils down to this; Would the benefit to your career gained by studying an MBA or Masters degree be sufficient to compensate for everything given up in the process? If someone chooses to study a traditional, on-campus, full-time MBA they would need to weigh the following choices;
Quit your job: Full-time MBA courses and Masters degrees have classes during the weekday mornings, with the evenings dedicated to study. It would be difficult to impossible juggling work with this level of commitment. More to the point, corporate organisations that will allow an employee to work only the graveyard shift 5 days a week are rarer than unicorns.
Career & work gap: One of the most commonly overlooked factors when making the decision to quit work and pursue an MBA or Masters degree, is the role and function of your job, and your ability to renter the workforce after a two or three year gap. Questions to consider are;
- How niche is your job industry or skill set? The more specialised your current work role or sector, the harder it is to find suitable candidates. This means there is a higher probability of reentering the workforce after graduation, with the opposite being true for less specialised fields.
- How rapidly evolving is your job role or industry? With business functions related to Fintech, Marketing or any role heavily reliant on the internet, a 1 – 3 year break can mean significant gaps in new technology knowledge and experience that would make you less appealing to prospective employers.
- Is my MBA or Masters degree prestigious enough to gain me entry into the workforce upon graduation? This is a very difficult question to answer so we recommend independent research. However, it is fairly established that unless you choose study an MBA or Masters degree from a Top Tier, unfathomably expensive University, this is very unlikely. Upon reentry you would be competing for your role with younger candidates who have had two years to catch-up to your practical skill and experience when leaving it.
Move or leave home: Location should play a very important role when making decisions regarding pursuing an MBA or Masters degree, as moving cities or countries is an expensive endeavour. Questions to ask yourself are;
- Is the University of choice in a different city, state or country? If it is, would you need to relocate? If you don’t, how far is the commute and what is the cost of commute in time and money?
- What is the the cost of living between where you currently reside against the new location? Food, Housing, Utilities, Transport etc.
- How will you pay for your living expenses on a reduced income, no income or minimum wage employment?
- If relocation is required, have you factored in the cost of travel back home during holidays?
- If you do choose to move and you have a family, do they move with you? If you need to leave work to study an MBA or Masters degree, can you balance your tuition and living expenses for yourself while still supporting your family?
This article isn’t meant to deter you from pursuing an MBA or Masters degree – an education is undoubtedly the best investment you can make in your life. It is more about helping you weigh the consequences of this decision, to enable you to make the best choice.
Always remember that thanks to technology and the evolving nature of today’s business world and job market, there is more than just a full-time MBA or Masters degree to choose from. An Online MBA or Online Masters degree is entirely equivalent in academic merit and recognition as its on-campus counterpart. In addition, it is the best option for working individuals as it can be studied while still working. This is thanks to its flexibility, allowing access classes and study materials 24/7, from anywhere in the world. An Online MBA or Online Masters degree works around your schedule and not the other way around.
For those whose study preference gravitates toward face-to-face interaction, a Part time MBA is a good option as it balances online learning with MBA workshops
Still have questions about what’s the right choice for you? Speak to a Higher Education consultant for more guidance on an MBA or Masters degree