Is an Online MBA Right for Me?
There are many good reasons to pursue an online MBA. As with a traditional MBA, online MBAs offer the potential for future career advancement and a higher salary. They also offer a great deal of flexibility, allowing students to maintain their career momentum by continuing to work while they learn.
However, many potential students still question whether earning an MBA is the right decision—and whether an online MBA is the best option for getting one. This decision is a highly personal one, and depends largely on your own goals, lifestyle and expectations. As you weigh your options, consider these important questions.
What Are Your Goals?
Most MBA programs are goal-oriented. Business schools look for MBA candidates who know exactly where they want to go in their career, and who understand the role that the MBA will play in their overall career development.
Before you apply, think carefully about your goals and ambitions. Ask yourself:
- Where do you want to be in five to 10 years? How will an MBA help you get there?
- What are the credentials of the people who have the career that you want? Do most have an MBA?
- What experience and education do you already have? And how will an MBA enhance them?
- What does your current employer think about MBAs? Are they supportive? Will they help cover the cost of your degree?
Thinking about these issues before you apply to an MBA program will first help you clarify your position to ensure you’re making the best choice for your future, and it might help you pinpoint the best MBA program for your needs.1 Plus, if you’ve thought through these issues already, writing the personal statement for your application will be a breeze.
What Do You Want to Get From an MBA Program?
What makes an online MBA program a good fit differs from person to person. While some might be looking to build their entrepreneurial skills, others may be more interested in developing a stronger foundation in a different area like marketing or management. It’s very important, then, to consider what you hope to gain from the experience.
Research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that an MBA degree can translate to about $12,000 more per year in salary.2 But the experience of an online business education is about more than just a larger paycheck. MBA programs can challenge your perspectives, changing how you think about problems and encouraging you to come up with more creative, strategic and effective solutions. You’ll develop hard skills in finance, management and accounting, and improve your soft skills, such as communication and decision-making—all of which can make you more versatile and better prepared to handle the challenges of the modern business environment.
Don’t overlook the other benefits of an online MBA, either, such as the ability to learn and network with other professionals from around the world. Networking is a key part of anyone’s career success, and the connections that you make during your business school years can be some of the most important of your career.
What Is Your Lifestyle?
In a traditional MBA program, students typically spend at least two years focused entirely on their studies. Most students in these programs put their careers on hold in order to finish their degree.
Online MBA programs can take the same amount of time, but offer enough flexibility for working professionals to balance both work and school. In a program like California State University, Monterey Bay’s Online MBA, for example, students typically take either a single 6-credit course or two consecutive 3-credit courses over each 10-week term. This arrangement allows students to focus entirely on manageable chunks of material and more easily fit their studies into a busy lifestyle.
Before you enroll in an MBA program, evaluate your existing commitments and think about how you will fit classes and homework into your schedule. It can be done with careful planning and time budgeting, but it’s important to avoid overextending yourself or underestimating how much time you’ll be spending on your studies, or you’ll be setting yourself up to struggle.
Above all, opting to return to school for an MBA is a highly personal decision, and not one to be made lightly. Before applying and enrolling, think carefully about your goals and personal resources, and evaluate all your options. And should you determine that an online MBA is the best option, take a look at CSUMB’s Online MBA program.
1. Retrieved on April 27, 2018, from topmba.com/blog/deciding-if-mba-degree-right-you
2. Retrieved on April 27, 2018, from www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm