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Is Business School Worth It?

Business school is a common moniker for getting your Master of Business Administration, or more commonly, your MBA. 

The MBA has been around since 1908 when Harvard Business School founded the first MBA program. Since then, many have considered it the gold standard of business education for aspiring executives. But little in the business world is the same as it was when the MBA was created. So over 100 years later, is business school still worth it?

Let’s look at how business school is preparing business leaders for modern business challenges.

Is An MBA Still Relevant Today?

 

An MBA is a functional generalist degree that exposes you to all aspects of business. Rather than diving deeply into any one function, it’s designed to provide cross-functional leadership skills that help you strategically and holistically manage a business. 

There are distinctly different options for business schools that will teach these vital skills. Traditional, full-time MBA programs are becoming farer and fewer between, while online MBA programs have accelerated in popularity. From 2012 to 2019, professionals completing in-person MBA degrees declined by 36.4%, while fully-online MBA completions have risen by 27.2%.

 

What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.

 

Overall, MBAs continue to be a sought-after credential because of the large emphasis on interpersonal skills. Human capital is the single most important intangible factor that can make or break a business, making these skills invaluable—now and into the future. 

Even in a changing economic environment, business school is still a great option for many business professionals.

4 Great Reasons To Go To Business School

 

While increasing short- and long-term salary is often a primary motivator for attending business school, it isn’t the only benefit of getting your MBA. Let’s look at the holistic benefits of going to business school: 

  • Break Through a Career Ceiling: Clear the way to senior management and executive positions with an MBA. By going to business school, you’ll be able to achieve more in your career—whether through promotions or increased salary. For example, in 2019, the average advertised salary for jobs in business, management and financial operations is $73.1K with a bachelor’s degree and $100.2K with an MBA. 
  • Increase Credibility and Marketability: An MBA will not only give you more confidence in your ideas and solutions, but can also increase your employers’, colleagues’ and industry peers' perceptions of you. Adding an MBA credential to your resume can mean more opportunities or more preference when applying for jobs, consulting gigs, writing and publishing, or speaking opportunities.
  • Expand Your Network: From professors to other students and industry mentors, the ability to make connections in the business community can be invaluable to learning new skills and advancing your career.
  • Gain Cross-Functional Leadership Skills: An MBA will give you the insights and skills you need to understand how each function—from HR to Marketing to Finance—within an organization can work its best. You’ll gain management skills, strategic frameworks and critical problem solving abilities to address challenges and increase efficiency across an organization.

If you attend an online business school you also gain additional benefits:

  • Apply Learnings and Skills Immediately: You don’t have to wait two years to apply the concepts you learn in your MBA program to real-world challenges. By getting your MBA at an online business school, you keep your career momentum while accelerating your potential.
  • Reduce Opportunity Cost: If you get your MBA online, you’re able to keep your full-time income, which means it takes less time to recoup the cost of your degree. It can also make it more feasible to pay for your MBA education. Your employer may also offer tuition reimbursement or have tuition reduction partnerships with universities that offer an online MBA.

What Does it Take to Succeed in Business School?

The worth of business school is not just determined by outcomes, but also by the costs. By knowing what it takes to get your degree, you can evaluate if the benefits outweigh costs. You can also use these costs to measure your level of dedication to getting your MBA.

  • Time and Energy: If you attend business school online, you should expect to treat it like a part-time job. If you attend full-time, you have to be willing to make business school your sole focus, putting your professional career on pause. Either way, you have to be fully committed to getting your MBA and that requires scheduling dedicated time and brain capacity to attend class, complete assignments and take advantage of networking opportunities. 
  • Money: There are both affordable and expensive options for business school—from tens of thousands of dollars to degrees that cost over 200K. Make sure you know how you will fund your education (savings, tuition reimbursement, loans) and can pay back any debt in the required timeframe. Also, think about the portion of your future income you are willing to dedicate to paying back debt you may accrue. 
  • Personal Sacrifices: Whether you get your degree in person or online, know that there are times you will have to prioritize your education over your other interests, hobbies and personal commitments. An online business school can make it easier to plan your schedule proactively if they use a balanced learning format where the number of hours required each week is about the same.

How Can I Determine if Business School is Right For Me?

For many prospective MBA students, determining the worth of attending business school starts by comparing the total costs of attending business school in person vs. online.

Now that you understand the two primary types of business schools, let’s look at how they can benefit your career.

In the end, the worth of going to business school is a highly personal choice. There is no one formula for determining the value of an MBA. But if you go in with your eyes open and ask the right questions, you can make a confident decision about your future.

These questions can help you calculate the worth of an MBA for your career:

  • Do you feel like you’ve reached a stalling point in your career and an MBA credential could help propel you upward?
  • Do you work in a specialist function or different career field and want to create new career opportunities?
  • How long will it take you to recoup the opportunity cost (tuition, fees, books, lost income, and all other input costs) of my MBA and will the credential outweigh these costs?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice the time and energy to make going to business school a top priority?
  • Is becoming a business leader (not necessarily the perks that come with it) your primary motivation for getting an MBA?

In The End, Is Business School Worth It?

For many, the answer is a resounding yes. The time-tested, cross-functional and leadership-focused curriculum of an MBA transcends business trends to arm executives with skills to move business forward. 

If you’re a working adult looking for a broad-based business education that provides you with a nimble skill set that will stand the test of time, an online MBA program may be right for you. Explore Franklin University’s online MBA degree to see how this program can help you reap the benefits of attending business school online. 

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