The How, Where, and Why’s of Getting an MBA

If you are currently an undergraduate, chances are you have at least vaguely thought about the idea of going to graduate school in the future. You’ve heard stories about the big salary gains or higher level positions behind doors that an MBA can open for you. On average, people with graduate-level or higher degrees earn at least $400,000 more in their lifetime than those who do not**. As a graduated student with plentiful experience in the job market, I would like to sort through all this cluttered information and lay out why an MBA is an excellent idea, when it is more appropriate and beneficial, and which resources are best for funding your advanced degree.

A Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) is essentially a specialization and much deeper course of learning than what you covered at your undergraduate school. It is centered around the sharing of strategy, very fine technical details, and networking with your fellow graduate students. It can be of general nature, or focus narrowly on one discipline of business: Forensic Accounting, Interactive Marketing, or Quantitative Analysis, to name a few. The length of the program depends entirely on what you intend to be studying, and you can complete an MBA as quickly as one year (full-time), or up to three years (part-time) both on-campus and online MBA .

In a nutshell, an MBA is your way of saying, “I’m an expert in [your field here].” You have taken the enormous amount of time, resources, and (mental) sweat to earn two or more degrees; basically, you have proven your dedication. A current or prospective employer regards an MBA as a badge of tenacity; you invested several years for this knowledge and it makes you that much more of an asset to their business.

An MBA can be your ticket to an accelerated career. There are a lot of jobs out in the market that list an advanced degree as a prerequisite. Earning an MBA can give you the extra edge you need to qualify for that dream job and catapult you to new levels of higher pay grades, authority, and respect.

In addition, the path to earning an MBA can be just as rewarding as the degree itself. When you take Masters-level classes, you are placing yourself in a room with other very intelligent people; people with interesting and unique perspectives you may not have seen or thought of before. Graduate degrees are a much bigger time and financial investment, so there tend to be fewer social loafers than you probably had to deal with during your undergraduate education (though inevitably there will ALWAYS be a few.)