One of the first questions you might ask yourself when considering an MBA is: is the degree right for me?
An MBA is a big undertaking, often requiring one or two years of full-time study to complete. Alongside tuition fees, choosing a program, and preparing for intensive study, many people will want to know if the degree is right for them first.
How can you know if an MBA is right for you, though? Well, here are five questions you should ask yourself before applying.
How Do I know if An MBA is right for me?
Considering the time and money needed to complete an MBA, you want to know that the degree is the right option for you. Though you can never be 100% sure, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to better gauge if you’re going to see payoff by doing an MBA.
These questions will cover your overall level of experience, your current work, and your career goals, so you can answer the all-important question: is an MBA right for me?
1. How much money can I invest in an MBA?
There’s no getting around it: an MBA is an expensive degree. You’ll have to seriously consider how to finance your programme before you apply. Tuition fees for MBA courses in Europe come to approximately €50,000-€80,000 depending on the degree, plus there are living expenses to think of.
Most courses will have scholarships or bursaries available, though these will have specific requirements. For example, they may be merit-based, dependent on your country of residence, or awarded to minorities.
While MBA starting salaries may be high (often reaching upwards of €150,000), you will still have to find a way to finance your way through the course, including accommodation.
2. How much experience do I have?
An MBA is a rigorous degree, best suited to students who already have at least a few years of business experience under their belts. Many students on MBA degrees may have been out of university for 10 years, and the degree is largely suited to more experienced candidates.
While there are exceptions, most European MBA programmes will ask for 2-3 years of professional experience. If you have only one year, you could still apply, but you should make sure that other parts of your application are stellar in order to compete with other candidates.
If you don’t currently have any experience and still want to pursue a postgraduate business degree, you might consider doing a Business Master instead. This shorter and less intensive programme will usually not require any formal experience.
3. Do I have the time to dedicate to an MBA?
An MBA will usually take one full year to complete, though some programs will go up to 18 months. If you want to complete your programme full-time, this means taking over one year off work – can you dedicate that much time to your programme?
Other options include doing an MBA part-time, but this will require a more dedicated work ethic as you’ll have to work around your other commitments. For example, you may have to attend classes on the weekend, or before and after the workday.
Have a think about how much time you can put into your MBA. If you can’t afford to take the time off work at this stage in your career, then the degree may not be right for you yet.
4. How much do I want to earn?
It’s no secret that MBA graduates earn hefty sums after their programmes. However, what’s more important than the average annual salary of an MBA grad is their return on investment (ROI). This takes into account how long it will take students to make back their investment in the programme.
According to one survey, 9 out of 10 graduate business school alumni report a positive return on investment from their degrees. Plus, 70% of students in the same study said that their financial situation was ‘much better’ after their programme.
If you’re planning to change careers, or are looking to boost your earnings, then an MBA is the degree to choose. While the degree requires a large investment up-front, the opportunities that an MBA creates can lead to a huge payoff. European MBA graduates, for example, could recoup their investment in just 30 months.
5. what career do I want?
If you already have a few years of experience in business but want to take your career further, then an MBA can be valuable. As the programme covers business fundamentals in great depth, it’s a good choice for students who want to change careers, as it will boost your leadership skills and overall technical knowledge.
However, many students choose an MBA if they want to start their own business. Some universities will even offer MBA degrees that specialise in entrepreneurship or have start-up incubator programmes that students can apply to. Given the riskiness of startups, it can be valuable to have an intensive business degree under your belt before starting your business.
So, if you already have a business idea you want to take further but don’t know to do it, an MBA could be the right choice for you.
Conclusion: How to know if an MBA is right for you
Hopefully, after asking yourself these questions you know if an MBA is right for you. If you have entrepreneurial ambitions and the time to dedicate to the degree, an MBA is a great way of improving your chances of success. However, if you’re not as far into your career or have no professional experience, it might not be right for you.
Don’t worry, though, as there are plenty of MBA alternatives for students who don’t have the time or money to dedicate to this prestigious programme. Consider an online course or a Business Master, both of which will still give you the skills to succeed in the business world.