Summer is just around the corner and if you are five to ten years into your career, this month is the perfect time to consider whether applying for an MBA this fall is the best move for you. An MBA from a top school can double your earning potential, enable a dramatic career switch, or let you re-charge and recover from the blast furnace experience that many service/advisory/consulting jobs in the city can be. If you are unsure about whether or not an MBA is right for you (and this degree — being as expensive as it is — isn’t for everyone) here are four tips to help give you a sense of where you are and what future options you should consider.
Your next promotion requires an MBA
You look above you and notice that everyone from your boss to your VP has an MBA. You learn from HR that if you want to advance, it will take twice as long without an MBA to get the next promotion up. If this is happening to you, an MBA has to be a serious option for you.
You are dying to switch careers
You get up every morning and are simply unenthusiastic about what you are doing. You need a change and you need a different path, but, unfortunately, have very limited means to get there. Fortunately, an MBA can be the reset button that your career needs. More than half of all MBA grads make some form of career switch, and companies like to recruit top MBAs with a diverse background, which is the complete opposite of what the regular job market is like.
You never had formal business training
You were a pure liberal arts major as an undergrad and found a passion for the startup, small business or new venture of which you are now a part. You never took a finance, accounting or marketing course in your life and feel that you need classroom training to take the next step. Going back for your MBA for primarily academic purposes is a compelling reason to think about applying.
Your network is limited or stagnating
The MBA experience will add close to 1,000 new contacts to your life. Access to your classmates and the people above and behind you will constitute about half of the increase in people you will know and can network with immediately. The other half is all of the alumni to whom you will have access. If you feel like your ability to connect with influencers and decision-makers who can help your career is slowing down, the two-year full-time MBA can fix this.
Simply considering an MBA is just the first part of what will be a quite a long process to actually earning admission to an MBA program, but you have to know that you want to get the degree first to give yourself the right amount of motivation to do what you need to do to compete for the top programs. Differentiating yourself in the job market remains the key to upward mobility, and an MBA remains a battle-tested path to career success.
Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.