For most traditional college students, by the time they have graduated with a bachelor’s degree, they have spent at least the past 17 years in education. Many college grads do not know what to expect outside of academia and are faced with the fearsome prospect of entering the industry for the first time in their lives, many young adults are tempted to dive right back into the classroom by enrolling in an MBA degree program.
Indeed, there are undeniable benefits to earning an MBA degree. MBAs provide invaluable knowledge and skill about business operations and environments, preparing students for leadership roles in organizations big and small. As a result, MBA-holders can demand higher salaries than their less-credentialed peers. MBAs also tend to have better access to networking opportunities, meaning they can advance more quickly up their career ladders and achieve their professional dreams with greater ease.
Yet, there are advantages and disadvantages to enrolling in an MBA degree program directly after graduation — just as there are advantages and disadvantages to waiting a few years before pursuing an MBA. Here are the pros and cons to consider today.
Advantages of Moving Directly From Undergrad to an MBA Program
Being a student is difficult — more difficult than many students realize. Students who have followed a traditional path through education are unlikely to know much else besides the role of student, which means they are unlikely to appreciate how much time and energy is required to learn new knowledge and skills. Learning itself is a skill that can weaken over time, so the more time a student spends outside the academic environment, the more difficult it will be for them to return.
The typical MBA program requires two years of full-time study, though there are some accelerated programs that can take a year or less. Students who have spent more than 16 years dedicated to education are not likely to experience burnout from another handful of months in the classroom; in fact, moving straight from college into an MBA program can ensure that a student has honed their study skills and is prepared to absorb as much information as possible from their advanced business administration courses.
What’s more, the younger an MBA graduate is, the more likely they are to see major benefits from their degree. For those at the earliest stages of their career, an MBA can function like a fast pass, qualifying professionals for higher-level positions than they would otherwise have access to. Instead of starting at an entry-level position, an MBA holder might instead be a viable candidate for lower-level management, which catapults their career several years forward. This effect is compounded by the network opportunities available in MBA programs, which can connect grads with enviable positions that provide excellent foundations for their careers.
Advantages of Spending a Few Years in Industry Before Earning an MBA
Though the advantages of remaining in school after college to obtain an MBA right away are certainly impactful, there are a few good reasons a young professional might want to spend a few years in industry before pursuing an advanced business degree. First and perhaps most importantly, young professionals who are uncertain about their career aspirations might benefit from obtaining real-world experience in their field of choice. Oftentimes, the day-to-day of a dream job is much different than a young student imagines, and experiencing the workplace environment can provide clarity, guiding a young professional toward a career they will enjoy in the future. In short, working in their desired industry can help a professional confirm that an MBA is a valuable tool for achieving their career goals.
Additionally, experience in lower-level positions can improve the effectiveness of business leaders. When an executive can recall the challenges of being in the workforce, they are more likely to develop strategies and policies that will improve performance while developing a healthy and positive workplace culture. Plus, working in a lower-level job will give young professionals some income to support their lifestyle as they pursue advanced education to improve their careers.
Fortunately, because an MBA is such a powerful and popular advanced credential for working professionals, there is plenty of flexibility to ensure that MBA students can achieve success regardless of when in their careers they pursue their degree. Students and professionals alike should consider acquiring an MBA degree online, which is a faster, more convenient and more affordable way to reach the career level of their dreams.