‘Why pursue an MBA?’ ‘Will an MBA help me achieve my business goals?’ ‘Will I be able to juggle school, work, and family commitments?’ ‘Is it really worth it?’ ‘Is an MBA right for me?’
If these questions are circling around in your head and keeping you up at night, don’t worry: you’re not alone. The decision to pursue an MBA is a serious one, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. After all, an MBA isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone.
Why pursue an MBA in the first place?
The most important question you need to ask yourself is why you want to do an MBA. In other words, what do you hope to get out of the degree? There are many good reasons (and a few not-so-good reasons) for wanting to pursue an MBA. We explore a few below:
An MBA is an excellent choice if you’re looking to switch careers.
If your primary reason for wanting to pursue an MBA is to change your career, you’re on the right track. MBA programs are designed to equip candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully transition from one field or industry to another. For starters, the combined theoretical and practical aspects of a respected MBA program give graduates a competitive edge that makes them attractive to recruiters and potential employers. In addition, the interpersonal aspect of an MBA program arms candidates with great people skills, making them outstanding leaders and fantastic team-players. Another way that an MBA can help you smoothly switch careers is through the valuable network of professional connections you’ll make as you move through the program.
If you’re an aspiring career switcher, choose an MBA program that offers a specialisation in the field you plan to move into. For example, if you want to move to luxury brand management, find a program that allows you to major in this discipline specifically.
The right MBA can help you accelerate your career.
Another good answer to the question ‘Why pursue an MBA?’ is to fast-track your career. The management know-how and leadership skills you’ll walk away with will put you in the spotlight for promotions to executive positions. It’s important to pick an MBA program that offers personalised, one-on-one career guidance and professional coaching to help you map your path up the career ladder. Career-related events, such as networking opportunities and recruitment events, can likewise help you forge the business connections you need to advance in your career.
Want to grow your professional network? An MBA is just the ticket.
Ever heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’? The best business schools know that there’s a grain of truth in this, which is why the best MBAs aren’t just about gaining new skills and knowledge; they’re also about growing your professional network. Pick a business school that boasts an impressive list of strategic partners and has solid links to industry heavyweights. Your classmates represent a world of opportunity and possibility, so look for a program that has a diverse student body. Who knows? You might meet the co-founder of your next start-up in class.
If you’ve already got a few years’ work experience under your belt, you’re probably a good candidate.
While there are exceptions to the rule, MBA programs are generally best suited to candidates who already have a few years’ work experience behind them. This is because people with a good dose of prior work experience understand how business works in the real world. They also tend to have a better idea of what they want out of an MBA program—and their future careers.
Wondering about the not-so-good reasons we mentioned earlier? Think carefully about doing an MBA if your primary reasons sound anything like the following:
- You’re at a loose end and you’re not really sure what your next career move should be;
- You’re looking for a program with a solely academic focus and minimal practical business management training;
- You’re doing it because you ‘think you should’ or to please a family member.
If you’re sure about pursuing an MBA, the next step is hunting down the perfect one for you. Download our whitepaper How to find the perfect MBA for guidance on how to make the best decision.
If you’re interested in doing an MBA at ESSEC, download our Global MBA brochure or chat to a current student about what it’s like to pursue an MBA at ESSEC