exploring mba options

Exploring The Many MBA Options

The Masters of Business Administration, or MBA, is a postgraduate degree for people looking to take their business skills and earning potential to the next level. Before debating whether or not to pursue one, it’s important to weigh the various pros and cons, as well as the different MBA options available to you.

Personally, I have yet to venture into the possibility of going back to school. I spent five years in the undergrad program at Northeastern, and have been out in the working world since. Josh got his Master’s degree in Business Management at Wake Forest, very similar to what an MBA program entails.

No matter your age, profession, or skill set, exploring the various options you’ve got to further your education is always a worthwhile pursuit. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of MBAs and whether it might be right for you.

Are MBAs Worth the Money?

Depending on your situation in life and your career, going for an MBA can either be a positive game-changer or set you up for financial hardship with minimal gain. You can search the web for thousands of different opinions on postgrad education. Some call it a “must have” for anyone aspiring to leadership. Others will point out the numerous high-powered executives in the business world today who never went beyond a simple bachelors degree. The current CEO of my company Acquia has a bachelor’s in Computer Science – now he runs our entire company. Our previous CEO has a bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. Notice a trend here?

Overall, both sides of the table have a valid argument.

The value of an MBA isn’t decided by the opinion of people on the internet. It really comes down to your personal situation, like so many other financial choices in life. There is no black and white here. Therefore, no two MBA decisions will ever be the same.

Key MBA Questions

Weighing the different MBA options and their fit in your life comes down to asking yourself some questions. There are plenty to be asked, but here are some of the key ones:

  • What are the existing routes for climbing the ladder in my current field/role?
  • Can you afford to (possibly) take two years out of your field?
  • If you aren’t leaving a job, can you handle the mental stress of working all day and school all night?
  • Do you have the time and energy to study for the GMAT exam?
  • Do you desire to get into management someday? Would an MBA or lack of an MBA be a blocker for management transition? 
  • Can my company pay for some, or all, of my degree?
  • How much more do MBA people have compared to non-MBA in my field?
  • Can I take the financial burden for years to come?
exploring mba options

Only after you gain a solid handle on these questions should you start looking into different MBA options.

For example: A mid-twenties salesperson in a field where non-MBA’s are in management versus an engineer who can never manage without a grad degree. A mid-thirties financial analyst supporting a family who can’t take two years off versus a fresh college grad with nobody else to support.

Everyone will have their own unique situation which dictates the validity of an MBA. Think about your current lot in life before looking into the different options available. With that being said, let’s have a look at the most common MBA options available to you!

Full-time MBA

A full-time MBA is exactly what it sounds like. You are dedicating your life to college study for a few years, with limited opportunity to do much else. It’s still possible to maintain some side hobbies, but working a 9 to 5 in the full-time program is out of the question.

Historically, full-time is the way to go if you plan to apply for academic scholarships during your MBA. Around 90% of all scholarship money goes towards full-time students. Slim pickings for the rest of students choosing to go part-time!

The primary benefit of a full-time program is the immersion into the learning, college-focused mindset. This helps students take more concentrated schedules and advance/graduate through the program quicker than part-time allows. Full-time also offers the options of internships and travel abroad that would be difficult while holding down a day job.

Professional MBA

Unlike a full-time gig, a Professional MBA (commonly shortened to PMBA) gives you the flexibility to remain in the workforce while you pursue your degree. For those people out there who can’t afford to be out of a job for a few years, PMBA can be very appealing.

The ability to stay at your day job comes with the double workload of juggling a career plus school. Some people can do it, some simply can’t. Be prepared to kiss any sort of social life goodbye if you are taking a PMBA program seriously.

While on the topic of a social life – the PMBA is typically reserved for a younger crowd overall compared to the Executive MBA. Less field experience is required and PMBA’s typically do not come into the program with an existing leadership background. PMBA’s learn their leadership in the classroom, while EMBA’s hone their existing skills.

Executive MBA

exploring mba options

Finally we have our Executive MBA program, EMBA for short. The EMBA and PMBA are the same in the fact that both are part-time. You can remain in your current job and complement that with evening EMBA classes. 

The key difference with the EMBA is the level of career experience applicants tend to have. the EMBA crowd is much older and advanced than any of the other MBA options available. Typically these students will already have a bit of leadership experience under their belts in a given field.

No Two Situations are the Same

In summary, remember to ask the tough questions going into a potential MBA evaluation process. You can browse the web all day reading about the good, bad, and ugly of postgraduate education. At the end of the day, it comes down to your desired career trajectory and situation in life that should dictate your decision. Whether you opt for part-time, full-time, or anything in between, an MBA can be a career game changer for you. Do your research, know your situation, and choose wisely.

Happy holidays to everyone out there as well! Looking forward to a big 2019.

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All opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of Home at 30 and are in no way affiliated with any other organization or institution. The purpose of this blog is to give general education and information about investing, wealth, careers, and college; It is not intended to be professional advice.

Author: Joe Savoia

Joe is a 2014 graduate of Northeastern University and currently works in a field sales role for technology company Acquia. He has worked internationally as one of Acquia’s earliest Australia-based employees and helped in the early stages to develop that region. Today Joe is based out of Boston and lives in Somerville, MA. Joe’s primary interests vary widely, including everything from robotics/AI to finance, blockchain, and the rapidly evolving world of tech we live in.
Exploring The Many MBA Options was last modified: December 22nd, 2018 by Joe Savoia

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