After you have completed your undergraduate studies and built up some work experience, you may consider going back to school for a graduate business degree. How do you know if that's the next best step?
There are many benefits from investing in yourself through a graduate degree. Before you take the first step towards business school, ask yourself these questions.
Maybe you started your job full of enthusiasm and ready to make a difference, but the opportunities just aren’t there. Or you haven’t been given enough responsibility in your current role, leaving you doubting whether you are reaching your full potential. If a higher income would improve your quality of life, going back to school for a graduate business degree can help with that.
If you want to make a change, a graduate business degree can give you the platform to do so. Even if you are happy in your job, there are many part-time and online programs available. You can continue working while you go back to school for postgraduate study.
Soft skills, digital skills, strategy skills, and data analytics are some of the biggest skill gaps that employers are eager to fill. But improving your skills on the job - with a full workload and deadlines to meet and without guidance from an experienced practitioner - can be tricky.
If you find gaps in your knowledge or are promoted into a role that demands more from you, going back to school for a postgraduate degree can give you the opportunity to upgrade your skills. For example, business degree can educate you about the interpersonal aspects of management and give you the skills you need to take on higher-level leadership roles.
While taking a year off work to go back to school can mean an opportunity cost, a year of lost salary, some full-time degree programs will more than pay off in the long term. Calculating ROI on business school can help you determine whether the time and cost will be worth it.
ROI isn’t just about money. You can consider factors like lifestyle and flexibility when you are comparing costs and benefits. Working out what ROI means to you will help you choose the right kind of graduate business degree.
Where do you want to be after your degree? Do you want a generalist degree that can be applied to a variety of industries and job functions or a specialist degree that will set you on a specific career path?
To achieve the best outcome for your unique goals, you need know what you want to do with your degree. Generalist graduate management degrees, like MBAs and MiMs, give people options for a wide variety of career paths while specialized master's degrees help people accelerate in their chosen field by becoming subject-matter experts.
Before going back to school, you need to identify which kind of degree you want to pursue based on your individual career goals. You may find a specific business school programs that aligns to your unique career objectives.
After you have identified which degree program suits you best, you need to make sure you are ready for it. Consider whether the timing is right, and your financial situation is prepared to accommodate the investment. Then, review the admissions requirements before you apply. Graduate business programs typically require an undergraduate degree, some work experience, and a GMAT score - in addition to letters of recommendation.