To avoid the big, scary working world, many people are considering going back to school and asking themselves “Is an MBA is worth it?” Although education is a crucial part of personal and professional growth, sometimes a graduate program may not be the best path to take. Before you jump into a sea of applications, ask yourself these questions:
1. What are your reasons?
If you’re planning to become an occupational therapist or apply for an executive position at a top-level company, then a Master’s degree might be the right path for you. Unless the position you want specifically calls for a Master’s, you might be wasting your time. Research shows that going back to school solely for the reason to stand out in a job interview or boost your resume hasn’t proven to be effective. Think carefully about why you want to enroll in a graduate program before shelling out upwards of $30,000.
2. How will you pay for it?
Speaking of money, you need to have a payment plan in place before taking classes. Find out if your current job offers tuition reimbursement or apply for scholarships through FAFSA. You may also want to look into online programs so that you can hold a day job while studying part-time. Paying for a Master’s degree on top of your current student loans for undergrad can be a real doozy if you’re not prepared.
3. Do you have the time?
Will you be working while taking night classes? Do you have a family to support? How does your husband or wife feel about this move? These are all crucial details to keep in mind when asking yourself “Is an MBA worth it?” Graduate school is not easy and you could be biting off more than you can chew especially if you have other time-consuming responsibilities.
4. Are there better alternatives?
With the online course market in a current boom, there are plenty of alternatives to graduate school. If a Master’s isn’t necessary for your next career move, sign up for some online classes on Coursera or Udemy to sharpen your skillset. Coursera offers hundreds of classes taught by some of the top Ivy League professors from around the world, so you know that you’re getting the best information. These classes will teach you what you need to learn and they cost thousands of dollars less than a traditional University.
5. How legit is the program?
If you’re going back to school for an MBA solely to boost your resume, make sure that the schools you’re applying to are accredited. If your choice of school suffers from a bad reputation, it could hinder your job search instead of help it. Do some serious research beforehand and make sure that your degree will lift you up during the interview process.
Like every other life commitment, you want to consider the pros and cons of a Master’s program. Depending on your lifestyle, occupation, and interests, going back to school for an MBA can either lift you to the top 1% or have you declaring bankruptcy by the age of 30. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a fabulous degree but no job to show for it.
Instead of jumping into this huge commitment, try working smarter, not harder, and you could end up just where you need to be without a mountain of student debt.