Is an MBA Worth It Right Now?

Joseph Stubblebine
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For years, the MBA degree has been a hallmark of excellence for people in the competitive business field. If you want to build upon your experience in this field, you might be thinking about applying to an MBA program in marketing, healthcare administration, management, or another discipline. Before doing so, take the time to determine whether investing in the MBA degree would help you advance your career.

The answer to this question will depend on your career goals. If you do not have a concrete career goal, it might not be the right time to pursue a graduate degree in business. The MBA is best for professionals who know what they want to accomplish and understand how the degree will help them achieve those goals. If you own your own business, completing an MBA might be worth it if the skills and knowledge you gain help you make your business more profitable or convince venture capitalists to fund your company. Some physicians, for example, are enrolling in MBA programs to learn how to better manage their practices and stay profitable despite the uncertainty created by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Your answer will also depend on whether you want to work for someone else or open your own business. Advanced degrees are not usually needed for entrepreneurs who want to start their own ventures, so you might not need to spend thousands of dollars to get where you want in life. If you plan to work for a traditional employer, you might need to get an MBA to set yourself apart from other candidates. Getting an MBA can help you show your employer you are dedicated to learning about business and developing the skills you need to succeed in a leadership role. If you have a potential employer in mind, review job postings from that employer to determine if an MBA is a requirement for a position in your desired department.

You must have realistic expectations when deciding whether an MBA is a worthwhile investment for you. Getting an MBA might make you more qualified for some jobs, but it does not guarantee you will land the job you really want. If you enjoy learning and have the ability to manage a full course load while working full time, feel free to enroll in a graduate business program. If you are not sure how an MBA can help you in your career, save your money until you have a better idea of what you want to do with your management and business skills.

A graduate degree is a big investment, so it is a good idea to think about whether such a degree will truly help you advance your career. Education is never a waste of money, but there are less expensive ways to learn new business skills if you do not think an MBA would help you make more money or land a better job. When deciding whether to enroll in this type of program, define your goals and determine if getting an MBA will help you reach those goals.

(Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan /


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