Debate about the value of an MBA is nothing new, with some arguing that the degree has run its course, while others note that it still remains a powerful way to advance into managerial work at large organizations around the world. Luckily for prospective MBA applicants, this degree does remain a powerful force for workplace advancement. Surveys by the Graduate Management Admissions Council also show high levels of workplace satisfaction, higher levels of compensation, and near-immediate workplace advancement, upon completing an accredited program. So, how do applicants ensure that they’re getting the most value of this longstanding graduate program for aspiring corporate managers?
First, Get a Decent Amount of Applicable Work Experience
The MBA is not a degree for students who haven’t gained at least a little managerial experience since they finished their undergraduate degree in a related field. Unlike the highly theoretical undergraduate business degrees that most students receive, an MBA is a broad group of classes and competencies that focus on a student’s applicable skills or past experiences. An MBA will be valuable for those enrollees who already work in a supervisory capacity, since they’ll be able to do their jobs better, leverage their experience for promotions after they finish the degree, and cite real experiences in classroom discussions.
It’s also worth noting that MBA recruiters at most colleges are looking to recruit graduates who bring valuable experience with them to their new position. A graduate with no work experience typically isn’t as attractive to recruiters, many of whom prefer candidates who can “hit the ground running” as quickly as possible.
Choose an MBA Accredited by the AACSB
The AACSB, or Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business, is the largest and most prestigious accrediting body for undergraduate and graduate business degrees. This accreditation makes an MBA worth the time and expense required to complete the program for several reasons. First and foremost, AACSB accreditation is typically held only by the best business schools around the world, and this prestige bodes well for job placement after graduation. Second, AACSB accreditation qualifies graduates to enter into adjunct teaching roles if they wish to work in academia in the future. Third, this accreditation is sometimes a requirement of employer reimbursement programs that cover the cost of attendance for many existing managers.
Pick the Right Degree Format
The time and expense of an MBA program depends on how students plan to pursue the degree. Full-time enrollment will generally require enrollees to leave their job or significantly reduce their work availability, leading to a double whammy of high tuition costs and reduced income. Part-time programs will require evening class attendance and commutes to campus, which might work better for some students. Online programs will remove the networking aspect of the degree in many ways, but they offer the best combination of flexibility and affordability. Aspiring MBA candidates need to make sure that they pick the right program and format for their unique needs. Otherwise, they could find themselves spending too much time or money on the degree and not enough time on honing their managerial skills in the workplace.
An MBA is Worth it in a Large Majority of Cases
The Master of Business Administration degree may be more prolific now than ever, but it shows no signs of decreasing in overall value. Thanks to prestigious accreditation, employer reimbursement, and a large variety of course formats, the value of an MBA can be adjusted to meet the unique needs of every prospective student who could benefit from enrollment.