When thinking about going back to school, many of us cringe at the prospect. Homework and tests are not something most of us want to relive. However, education – particularly a degree - can open doors to many opportunities.
Although you don’t need a degree necessarily to become a successful business professional, having one certainly doesn’t hurt your chances either. So the question is, should you get an MBA to improve the prospects of your business goals? Although it’s not the golden ticket for everyone, there are many benefits to earning one depending on the goals you have for your professional life. Here’s what you need to know.
Is an MBA Worth It?
Nobody really argues the worth or necessity of earning a bachelor’s degree, but does an education beyond that really increase your odds that much? The answer to that would be yes. An MBA offers many unique values that shouldn’t be passed up.
One reason is the near guarantee of landing a job. Whether you already have a career and want to get that promotion or are looking for a change in industry, an MBA will help you achieve those goals more than just a bachelor’s or high school degree. MBA programs also have boundless networking opportunities that are not as easy to find once you graduate.
Networking is a solid way to find success in pretty much every field, for extroverts and introverts alike. By interacting with alumni, classmates, and faculty members and attending network events — whether online or offline — you’re bound to make connections that will benefit you far into the future. You’re also more likely to be paid more by earning an MBA.
With starting pay for some MBA graduates in the $100,000s, education never looked so lucrative. Although having good negotiation tactics to secure a raise is always important, it helps to already start with an income that takes care of your needs.
Careers You Can Get With an MBA
Having an MBA allows for many career opportunities that were previously unavailable. What exactly are these professions though? The answer to that cannot be contained in a single article, but a few roles in which individuals with an MBA can expect to find themselves in are:
- Management Consultant: This career involves identifying issues within a company and coming up with solutions to address those issues. Management consultants need to be able review and analyze large sets of data and articulately discuss those findings with clients.
- Financial Analyst: It’s all about investments when it comes to this career. Financial analysts keep themselves up to date on the latest business and economic news to best evaluate the performance and success rate of different investments. With this knowledge, financial analysts are able to help clients find success in their investment endeavors.
- Marketing Director: Marketing Directors work with a variety of individuals to make a product or service truly shine in the eyes of the customer. Writing, research, and strategy are core components of this career. This profession also allows you to be creative while simultaneously exercising your business sense.
With these careers, an MBA is necessary to stand out from other job applicants or to access higher positions within the company you already work for. This degree also hones other financial and business skills that can help you be the ideal candidate for a variety of careers. So although it’ll take some time and money to achieve an MBA, the benefits and rewards that come with this degree will be well worth it.
How to Fit an MBA Within Your Budget
One of the main factors that deters a lot of business professionals from pursuing an MBA is money. With many people still paying off previous student loans, the prospect of accruing more debt does not sound appealing. However, there are several ways to handle student loan debt that will keep your financials strong and healthy while pursuing a higher education.
One repayment strategy you can utilize — depending on how much you make — is an income-driven repayment plan. Instead of paying an arbitrary amount of money each month, this loan repayment plan adjusts payments based on your income. Loan forgiveness is also a part of this plan, meaning after 25 years of payments, you no longer owe anything. However, you will have to count the amount you’re forgiven as income on your taxes for that year, so it would be wise to set some money aside to pay those taxes if the forgiven amount is high.
Refinancing and consolidation are also options to consider to manage your student loans. One thing to note first, though, is that federal loans cannot be refinanced. You can transfer your loans into private ones, but then the income-based repayment option will no longer be available to you. The plus side of private loans, though, is the ability to take advantage of low interest rates and payments in the long run.
The last option you can take advantage of is implementing an aggressive repayment strategy. This entails making payments while still in school and before your grace period ends. It’s also worth checking if the company you work for or want to work for offer college credits or benefits that include loan repayment. Try paying more than what’s due each month as well, even opting for bi-weekly payments if possible. That way you can pay down your principal and lower the amount of interest you need to pay at the same time. Budget wisely to incorporate loan payments along with your other expenses. Determine expenses you can do without and find ways to earn extra money such as freelancing or a part time job. The faster you can pay off your loans, the better off your bank account will be.
Deciding to pursue higher level of education is a choice we all wrestle with from time to time. Sometimes we think it’s worth it, and sometimes we don’t. However, the skills and opportunities you’ll receive by earning an MBA are hard to pass up. With many careers and experiences only open to you with an MBA, it’s your decision to make whether or not you want to increase your chances at achieving these things.
Author: Amethyst Tagney is a freelance writer and illustrator. She spends her time writing on a variety of topics and is an avid learner. When Amethyst’s not drawing, she loves to share what she discovers. You can find her on Twitter @AmTagWrites.