It is hard to predict how your life will look even five years down the road. Priorities change, jobs and employers change, and the economy changes. With that in mind, you may wonder how to make a pivot in your career that allows you to find the balance of satisfaction and compensation that you desire. Earning your MBA is a great way to boost your income prospects. Having more choices about the direction you want your career to go gives you the freedom to explore options that are not available to those without an MBA. The decision to return to school is not easy. Every person has different life circumstances, so there is no one right answer as to whether this career move makes sense for you. Understanding how you will balance your education with your existing life, and learning the benefits of this degree, may help you make your decision.
Don’t Base Your Decision on Current Finances
Your first thought when you begin considering whether an MBA is right for you is probably how you will pay for school. This is a common and understandable concern, but you do have options. Your first stop should be your current employer’s benefits office. You may find that your company offers some level of tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees. You will want to read the fine print if this is an option, as there are probably stipulations on how long you must stay employed at the company after earning the degree. Leaving before this time is up will mean you repay the reimbursement.
A common method used to pay for graduate school is to take out private student loans. These loans are readily available and offer the ability to borrow the amount you need. This is beneficial if you need to pay for more than tuition. Having money to pay for childcare or other expenses that arise due to continuing your education can make your return to school less stressful. Taking out loans to pay for school may feel stressful, but earning an MBA strengthens your earning power for the rest of your career.
Online or In-Person
There are so many online options available for graduate school today that fitting coursework into your existing schedule is doable regardless of your schedule. If you are working full-time and have children and other responsibilities, you may find you want to take a part-time course load or even one or two classes at a time. If you have fewer responsibilities, online classes allow you to complete a full-time course load around existing responsibilities.
Taking classes in-person has advantages as well. Working in teams on projects is a common part of the MBA experience, and that is work that is much easier to complete in-person. Also, many people find they get much more out of the lecture experience in a classroom setting. The ability to easily discuss issues, ask questions, and follow ideas that occur naturally makes the in-person style of learning superior for many people.
Experience the Benefits
Earning your graduate degree is beneficial to your career, but beyond that piece of paper, there are other benefits you should explore. During your coursework and after graduation you should utilize all of the school’s career resources. This means networking with students as well as graduates of the program. Having access to individuals who have gone through the program and used it to leverage a better job opportunity is one of the huge, often untold benefits of earning your degree. Having an MBA gives you entrance to a club of individuals who take their career seriously and are often inclined to help others in their network.