Is an MBA Right for Me?
There are many reasons you may consider getting your Masters in Business Administration, commonly referred to as an MBA. Perhaps you need it for a promotion or looking for a new job. Maybe you want to improve your knowledge and skills to help your business. Or you may just be bored and looking for a way to fill your time. All of these are valid reasons. Yet, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program. You might wonder, is an MBA right for me?
An MBA not only boosts your resume and salary, but you’ll learn vital skills to help you succeed in the field of management. For example, most programs include marketing, accounting, and human resource courses. Each class will help you better understand what goes into managing your employees and business.
You’ll gain leadership skills, better your communication, and learn technical terms to help you succeed.
However, as with any degree, you need to think carefully about the costs and benefits of the program. Furthering your education can be expensive and time-consuming. Thus, you need to be sure you are ready to get started on another degree.
Here are some factors you should consider before you get your MBA.
What to Consider
What You’ll Earn with an MBA
One of the most enticing reasons people pursue an MBA is the salary increase. Notably, individuals who get their MBA earn around $29,000 more than those who stop at the bachelor’s level. With experience and time, this pay gap grows. After a few years in the industry, some may see a salary difference of 50-75% between bachelor’s- and MBA-holding employees in the same company.
Considering that many grads see an almost immediate pay bump, this lofty benefit is enough for many to enroll. Truly, some individuals report that they started earning more before they graduate.
With that sort of pay increase, you must be curious: how much does the average MBA program cost? Surely it must be an expensive degree.
What an MBA Costs
A simple Google search will reveal that a two-year MBA can run you up to $200,000 in tuition. Yet, shockingly, MBA programs are also some of the cheapest in higher education. Online programs especially can cost as little as $4800 per semester.
Of course, you may worry that a cheap program may mean a cheap or worthless degree. However, studies have shown that students who earn their MBAs from online schools receive the same benefits as those who attend in-person schools. Online grads do just as well as their more traditional counterparts in terms of job offers, promotions, and pay increases.
Majorly, you need to do your research when considering online schools. Make sure you enroll with a reputable and accredited university. Non-accredited schools are not regulated nor are they treated with the same respect by employers.
Schools can only receive accreditation if approved organizations review them for quality and reliability. Basically, the process ensures schools are benefiting their students.
Unfortunately, many students will fall for the easy entrance requirements and low tuition of non-accredited schools, only to find that employers do not value their degrees. The knowledge you obtain in these programs can be valuable, but always stick with accredited institutions when you’re earning a degree.
Types of MBA Programs
Above, we mentioned a few courses you can expect to find in an MBA program. However, the exact classes vary by school and program. Each university may focus on a different aspect of business or have multiple options for you. For example, your local university may offer an MBA in marketing, general management, finance, or entrepreneurship. We advise looking at several schools and their programs before making your choice. That way you’ll find the MBA program that’s right for you.
MBAs that focus on general management give an overview of all factors you’ll need to succeed. Thus, it’s a fantastic option for someone new to or just getting into upper management. Alternatively, specialized degrees look at the specific vocabulary and skills needed for particular positions.
This section will focus on Lakewood University’s MBA program and what courses you can expect to find. Lakewood offers an MBA in general management. This focus is one of the most common and popular you will see across all schools.
Lakewood’s MBA provides students with the skills to excel in various jobs. A complete list of courses is available in the program outline, but you can expect to study marketing, entrepreneurship, international business, and project management. Uniquely, Lakewood also offers students the opportunity to pursue their project management certification, or PMP, while earning their MBA.
What You’ll Learn in an MBA Program
Core MBA skills prepare graduates to supervise their employees, lead projects, set office priorities, and meet their organization’s goals. Additionally, elective courses will teach you vital marketing language and skills in addition to other terminology you’ll need.
Indeed, quality marketing is one of the most critical factors in the success of your business. You’ll need to be able to communicate with your marketing team so they can best advertise your unique dream. Alternatively, if you’re running your own business, you need to know how to reach your audience.
Similarly, you need to know how to speak to all of your employees and use them effectively. In an MBA program, you’ll gain leadership skills and discover how to inspire and motivate your team. Additionally, project management courses teach you how to delegate duties.
Importantly, MBA programs often have a course or two that focus on business law. There are many rules and regulations that impact every aspect of your company, from human resources to trade rules and beyond. As you move up in an organization, you’ll be responsible for keeping everything running. Thus, you need to know what you can and can’t do with your business.
Business law courses serve as a great introduction to commonly broken rules and prepare you to take on that responsibility. Lakewood complements its business law class with a business ethics course.
Combined, the knowledge you’ll gain in these two classes prepares you for policy-making, business practices, and overall quality management skills.
Finally, you’ll find several MBA programs spend time teaching financial literacy and skills. As you gain new responsibilities, you’ll often find yourself in charge of spending and your department or even business’s budget. Thus, you’ll need to know how to read financial statements and statistics. Additionally, some background knowledge of accounting will ultimately help you succeed as you communicate with accountants and banks.
Your business’s finances factor into your ability to hire and maintain employees, purchase products and supplies, and keep the company running. Without financial literacy, you may not realize when your business dips too far in the red. Truly, the number one reason why new businesses fail is a problem with cash flow.
In the end, MBAs that focus on general management skills take a holistic approach in preparing you for each aspect of your new position. If you don’t yet have a specialty, these degrees set the stage for future specialization.
Job Opportunities for MBA Graduates
You may already have a position in mind, but it’s always good to know what other doors your MBA will open for you.
Mainly, you’ll be a prime candidate for any managerial job out there. Furthermore, there are many different kinds of managers in the workforce, each with different duties and responsibilities. You may pursue a human resource management position or become a financial manager. Sales managers will run a team that markets their company’s products and services. Additionally, business operations managers manage supply chains and finances.
On the other hand, MBAs open the door to several finance-related positions, such as investment bankers, financial analysts, and financial advisors.
If you don’t want to work in a single office or want to work for yourself, you can use your degree to become a management consultant. With this position, you’ll either travel to offices or work from home to help other companies improve their business practices and organization.
You might also consider a career in health center management. This position oversees nursing homes and healthcare facilities. Often, you will need a background in public health to pursue this route. Similar specializations include IT, education, media, and retail. Indeed, with the right experience, you can get into almost any field with your MBA.
Start Your Own Business
Also, if you find you’re not happy with the companies or positions out there, you can pursue entrepreneurship with your MBA. As these degree programs teach you what goes into running a business, the skills you’ll learn will prepare you to start your own.
Truly, several MBA programs already include an entrepreneurship course as part of the curriculum. Some schools even offer specialized MBA degrees just for this reason.
The possibilities are endless and well-paying with this degree. On top of a wide variety of career paths, you will also find plenty of room for growth in these industries. Ultimately, you can use your education and skills to rise to the top of any company.
The Job Market
Notably, MBAs are some of the most in-demand degrees across various fields. Business roles in the job market are expanding rapidly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, predicts an 9% increase in management positions from 2020 to 2030. This statistic translates to the addition of 906,800 new jobs. Additionally, as older members of the workforce retire, these management positions open to new employees.
Per the BLS standards, a 9% growth rate is higher than average for jobs in the US. When considering a new position, you should always look at the job outlook predictions.
Fields with a decreasing outlook may mean that your position will be cut within the next few years. Furthermore, positions with low growth rates tend to be highly competitive, as many people fight to find their place. Additionally, companies are less likely to offer competitive salaries when open positions are easy to fill.
On the other hand, when a field has a high growth rate and businesses are fighting for you to join them, you reap the benefits. When you’re in a candidate’s market, companies fight to show you how great they are rather than you need to prove you’re the right fit.
So, What’s That Mean for You?
Notably, the US saw the number of positions shrink during the covid-19 pandemic. However, as businesses have opened back up, these jobs have as well. Per the QS Global Employer Survey 2022, 70% of US employers anticipate hiring more employees in their business over the next year. 37% of those same employers expect to hire MBA graduates specifically.
On average, employees with an MBA are some of the highest paid in the job market. The median wage in 2021 was $102,450. Per the BLS, this was the “highest wage of all the major occupational groups.”
Thus, the overall outlook for MBA graduates is fantastic. Not only is the market growing steadily, but you’ll certainly be paid what you’re worth.
However, with all this being said, MBAs aren’t the right option for everyone. If the job prospects don’t sound appealing, you should pursue a different field as with any degree. Perhaps you want a job that gets you out of the office and moving. Maybe you’re a creative and working with statistics and finances sounds draining.
While there are affordable options, MBAs still take time and money to finish. If you’re unsure if upper management is for you, it’s worth saving your resources while considering your options. MBA programs aren’t going anywhere. Know what you want to do before you enroll.
On the other hand, you may want to join the field of management, but you don’t have the time or money to complete a program. In this case, you do have other options in the meantime. There are a variety of free or cheap education programs out there that you can use to boost your hire-ability.
For example, you can pursue certification in a specific field, such as entrepreneurship. Or you can utilize training websites such as Udemy to learn new skills. While Udemy’s programs aren’t accredited, you learn real-world skills that you can use in your current position.
While you may need an MBA to score the position of your dreams, you can still advance in title and pay in the meantime by enhancing your skillset and learning about what goes into a successful business. Truly, by getting started now, you’ll be better prepared to earn your degree in the future. Consider whether or not an MBA is right for you right now.
Lakewood University offers an affordable and comprehensive online MBA program. Asynchronous online courses can be completed on a student’s own time. Thus, if your only free time is at two in the morning on Wednesdays, you can still earn your degree online.
Lakewood’s MBA focuses on general management, giving students a holistic look at what goes into running a business. You’ll learn entrepreneurial, marketing, financial, and leadership skills. Additionally, you’ll get the opportunity to earn your Project Management certification at the same, which can boost your salary up to another 25%.
An MBA program opens the door to several job opportunities and a fantastic salary. If you’re looking to move into management or advance in your company, this degree is for you.
Is an MBA right for you? Contact our admissions department today to learn more.