By DeVry University
If you’ve been considering an MBA, or Master’s of Business Administration, you might be wondering when the right time is to take the next step on your education journey.
There can be many benefits of an MBA, such as sharpening your skills in communication, problem solving and collaboration, or exploring business-related topics such as economics, statistics, human resources or accounting. And according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who hold master’s-level degrees experience lower unemployment rates than those with bachelor’s-level or below.
But when is the best time to earn your MBA? The answer to that question depends on your individual circumstances and goals. Take a look at these potential reasons you may wish to earn your MBA at various points in your career and determine which might be best for you.
Right After Undergrad
Some people feel that it’s easiest to earn their MBA right after finishing their undergrad when they’re still in a school frame of mind and routine.
If you have very little work experience, earning an MBA can help you develop leadership skills, expand your network and expose you the workings of industries within your field that you may not have considered.
After You've Worked a Few Years
Earning your MBA after a few years of work experience could be the right move for you. Perhaps you received a job offer right out of undergrad or felt that you wanted to spend some time in the field before making your decision.
For many people, waiting to earn their MBA means that they’ve had a chance to assess what they want out of their career and have determined that an MBA could be a great next step. Considering your options a few years into your career can help you decide the best course of action for you and your goals.
When You Want to Pursue More Advanced Opportunities
Continuing your education can mean the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the industry you’re in. One of the benefits of an MBA is that it may help you prepare to pursue opportunities in your current company or other roles in your industry that may require advanced degrees.
If you feel like you’ve gotten all you can out of your current position, pursuing an MBA may be a good way to gain the knowledge and skills you need to take the next step.
If You Want to Make a Career Change
An MBA, with or without a specialization, can be a highly flexible degree that can help you prepare for many different types of careers. One of the benefits of an MBA is having the opportunity to learn skills like leadership or management that can be applied across many industries. With an MBA degree, you may be able to pursue careers in fields as diverse as healthcare, software, government or accounting and finance, depending on your interests.
Pursing an MBA can make sense even if you don’t yet know exactly where you want to land. If you’re looking to make a career change but haven’t yet decided on a direction, pursuing your MBA may help you narrow down your options.
In many MBA programs, you can explore aspects of different industries to find what appeals to you. You may decide to pursue finance or accounting to develop your knack for numbers, or perhaps you’ll discover a love for marketing. Earning an MBA can be an excellent way to refine your interests as you look for a new career direction.
How to Fit an MBA Program into Your Life
Deciding to pursue your MBA is the first step – but balancing school, work and other obligations is probably a close second.
Some schools and programs offer built-in resources for MBA students, which may include support such as:
- 100% online learning
- One-on-one tutoring services
- Career services
- Networking opportunities
- Online student communities
These services can help you manage and make the most out of your studies, while giving you access to support and resources that fit your needs. Knowing that you have an entire team behind you can help take some of the concern out of going back to school, whether it’s through tutoring sessions or career guidance.
It also helps to work on building up your personal support system before you start classes. Look around at your existing network – and don’t be afraid to reach out. Family, friends or even neighbors may be willing to lend an occasional hand when you’re balancing work during the day and studying at night.
Ultimately, “when should I earn my MBA” is a question that only you can answer. Whether you’re fresh out of undergrad or you’ve been working for years, earning your MBA can be an exciting next step in the journey toward a career you love.
Ready to Get Started?
At DeVry, we’re committed to supporting you in your academic and career goals. You can earn your Master’s of Business Administration in as little as 2 years and 2 months, or even more quickly with qualifying credits*. Classes start every 8 weeks.
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*Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.