Should I Get an MBA? Stuff They Tell You and Stuff They Don’t



In a recent LinkedIn post, our Co-Founder and President, Melody Jones, shared the following:

“On Friday last week, a prospective client asked me why I decided to get an MBA. I’m actually surprised that more people don’t ask me that 🙂 In case my story inspires you, I’m going to share why I made the decision over 10 years ago.

My big push to consider an MBA was the ’07-’09 financial crisis when I was working for one of the banks that failed. That early experience with such uncertainty and fear forced me to take a step back and re-evaluate my goals and priorities.

At first, all I knew was that I didn’t want to stay in finance.

And that was a good first step but as I often remind my clients, you should never pursue an MBA to “run away” from a situation or job you don’t like.

Instead, you should pursue an MBA as a step towards something bigger and/or better than you want.

It took me some time to figure out what I really wanted but I eventually got there (with the help of my MBA admissions consultant) and actually ended up doing exactly what I wrote about in my MBA essays – working in brand management for L’Oreal.”

Like Melody was during a shaky job market, are you sitting here wondering ‘Should I get an MBA?’.  If so, today’s article is for you.

We’ll be the first to tell you that an MBA is not for everyone. In most cases, it’s a significant financial investment, not to mention incredibly challenging both academically and personally.

But, in our experience as MBAs and admissions consultants, answering the question of ‘Should I get an MBA?’ is often more involved than people initially think. Just type ‘Should I get an MBA?’ into Google and you’ll easily find a list of standard benefits. However, there is also a number of more nuanced advantages to gain from the business school experience.

Should I Get an MBA? Stuff Everyone Talks About

  • Your Income is Likely to Increase: According to the 2023 Financial Times Global MBA Rankings, graduates from the top MBA programs enjoy salary increases >100% three years after graduation.
  • It’s Rewarding to Invest in Your Personal Growth: The intrinsic value of education, while more challenging to quantify, is an investment in yourself and your personal growth.
  • A Top MBA Provides Access: An MBA from a top program opens doors to prestigious firms and empowers career switchers.
  • There’s No Better Way to Build Your Network: The friends and contacts you make in business school will last a lifetime. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Should I Get an MBA? Good Stuff Nobody Talks About

  • You Never Know Where Your Career May Take You: An MBA teaches transferrable skills that can empower you to reinvent your career even years after graduating (like Melody did when she left a career in brand management to pursue her entrepreneurial passions by founding Vantage Point MBA!). Often, MBAs are hired into management positions in industries where they have no prior experience because of the next point…
  • Problem Solving is One of the Primary Subjects Taught in Business School: In the MBA classroom, you learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Case studies and experiential learning opportunities provide ample opportunity to learn how to frame any problem and develop a plan to solve it (whether or not you can even pronounce the issue at hand).
  • Credibility Counts: Most would agree that there is a positive connotation around what the MBA degree means, and this credential is even more important in certain industries (look at the exec team bios on company websites in your target industry for helpful reference points).
  • Stretching Yourself Builds Confidence and Perspective: Many early career professionals (including our younger selves) yearn for the confidence to voice their opinions in meetings as they see their mentors do. Spending two years in a setting where you voice your views daily and present in front of groups regularly is a crash course in developing executive presence.

Should I Get an MBA? If So, What Program Format is Right for Me?    

If the points we’ve made today hit home and you feel an MBA might be the right step for you, it’s important to also consider what program format best meets your needs – full time, part time or executive. Here is our high-level overview of the differences:

Full Time MBA
  • Career Goals / Recruiting: Great fit for career switchers or those looking for a fresh start
  • Average Work Experience Upon Matriculation: 3-7 years
  • MBA Experience: Immersive, social, holistic
  • Time: 2 years with a summer internship in between first and second year
  • Cost: >50% more expensive than part time MBA programs
  • Network: Highly diverse and international
  • Application Timeline: Can span up to 1 year, including test prep; deadlines are in “rounds”, typically in September/October, January, and March/April to matriculate the following fall
Part Time MBA
  • Career Goals / Recruiting: Great fit for those who are happy in their jobs but want to accelerate their careers
  • Average Work Experience Upon Matriculation: 2-12 years
  • MBA Experience: Classes are often in the evenings or on weekends
  • Time: Typically 3 years with some accelerated options
  • Cost: You avoid the opportunity cost of forgoing your salary while in school and may qualify for employer sponsorship
  • Network: Local, less diverse than full time
  • Application Timeline: Often have multiple entry points (i.e., fall and spring) with a shorter application cycle (3-6 months); review testing requirements and plan accordingly

Executive MBA

  • Career Goals / Recruiting: Great fit for those who are already in leadership positions
  • Average Work Experience Upon Matriculation: 8-20 years
  • MBA Experience: Classes are often on weekends or take place over short, intensive time periods
  • Time: Complete your degree in 18-24 months
  • Cost: You avoid the opportunity cost of forgoing your salary while in school and may qualify for employer sponsorship
  • Network: Domestic, less diverse than full time
  • Application Timeline: Varying timelines and deadlines by school (be sure to research each program you’re interested in) with shorter application cycles (3-6 months) and fewer rounds

Should I Get an MBA? If So, Where Do I Start?

Even if you have an inkling an MBA might be right for you, it makes sense to lay the groundwork for an application. Some of the steps that follow may even help you make that final decision on whether to throw your hat in the ring, so to speak. Here is what you can (and should) do now:

  • Active Your Network: Set up coffee chats with friends, mentors, former classmates and co-workers who have MBAs.
  • Decide When to Apply: Take inventory of your profile and objectives for the MBA in order to determine when to apply.
  • Flag Your Weaknesses: Take action! Whether it’s getting involved in your community or taking an additional course to offset a low GPA.
  • Research Schools: Do this early and often! You can never learn too much about a program to determine if it’s the right fit.
  • Think About Career Goals: Define and research the industry/function to what to pursue post-MBA as well as your long-term dream job.
  • Take the GMAT or GRE: Or at least make a study plan. These are challenging tests that require refreshing yourself on a number of subjects (ahem, calculus).

We hope you’ve found these insights and advice helpful as you ponder the question ‘should I get an MBA?’. If you’re solidly in the ‘yes’ camp and would like help with your applications, click here to request an initial consultation.

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