IS BUSI­NESS SCHOOL Re­ally Worth It ?

The Dallas Morning News - - Jobs -

If you’ve ever con­sid­ered get­ting your MBA, you’ve prob­a­bly asked your­self: Is it worth it? It’s a fair ques­tion, par­tic­u­larly as go­ing back to school as an adult of­ten re­quires shuf­fling your pri­or­i­ties so you can make time for class and as­sign­ments.

Ul­ti­mately, busi­ness school should help you ac­com­plish your aca­demic goals and pro­pel your ca­reer for­ward. Some busi­ness schools can be ex­pen­sive, so de­pend­ing on your needs, it may be a good idea to find pro­grams that are flex­i­ble, so you have the abil­ity to work while tak­ing classes.

With so many pro­grams and schools of­fer­ing MBAs and busi­ness cour­ses, it’s im­por­tant to know what re­sources to turn to and what fea­tures to look for in a pro­gram to en­sure you re­ceive a mea­sur­able re­turn on your in­vest­ment – fi­nan­cially and pro­fes­sion­ally.

Con­sider busi­ness schools that are ranked by rep­utable or­ga­ni­za­tions and pub­li­ca­tions: Any way you look at it, rank­ings are crit­i­cal. A well-re­garded busi­ness school can help you while net­work­ing, job search­ing and ap­ply­ing for pro­mo­tions. These rank­ings are of­ten de­ter­mined by stu­dent sur­veys and cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing fac­ulty, tech­ni­cal plat­forms and ca­reer out­comes. Re­sources like The Prince­ton Re­view, Po­ets & Quants and CEO Mag­a­zine de­liver help­ful an­nual rank­ings to guide prospec­tive stu­dents.

Look for pro­gram op­tions that meet your needs: The abil­ity to take on­line classes can be a game changer, par­tic­u­larly for work­ing adults who can­not af­ford to stop work­ing to go to school. In­stead of com­mit­ting your­self to a tra­di­tional, brick-and-mor­tar pro­gram, look to see if on­line cour­ses or other flex­i­ble pro­gram op­tions are avail­able.

For those who con­sider a salary in­crease to be the pri­mary rea­son for en­rolling in an MBA pro­gram, a re­cent sur­vey con­ducted for the Jack Welch Man­age­ment In­sti­tute shows that an on­line MBA pro­gram may be the way to go. Out of the 648 MBA grad­u­ates sur­veyed, 468 re­ported re­ceiv­ing some kind of raise. Of the 291 on­line MBA grad­u­ates who re­ceived a raise, 90 per­cent re­ported at least a 10 per­cent in­crease in salary. On­line stu­dents fared slightly bet­ter than tra­di­tional stu­dents.

Search for pro­grams that go be­yond the­ory: Adult stu­dents who are work­ing and at­tend­ing busi­ness school can bring an im­por­tant value to their job. De­pend­ing on the school, stu­dents can ap­ply what they learn in the class­room di­rectly to their work­place. Choos­ing a pro­gram that in­te­grates cur­rent busi­ness trends and con­tent with prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion helps en­sure stu­dents have nearly an im­me­di­ate re­turn on their in­vest­ment. Fac­ulty can also play a big role in this ap­proach. Con­sider pro­grams that pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn di­rectly from fac­ulty with prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence in busi­ness, not just a mas­tery of the­ory or re­search ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pri­or­i­tize pro­grams that build lead­er­ship and other soft skills: Ac­cord­ing to a LinkedIn sur­vey, the most in­de­mand soft skills sought by com­pa­nies are lead­er­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion, with lead­er­ship be­ing the most crit­i­cal skill. Mary Carr, dean of cur­ricu­lum at the Jack Welch Man­age­ment In­sti­tute, said, “Many ca­reers of­ten stall be­cause while peo­ple may have tech­ni­cal com­pe­ten­cies and strong busi­ness acu­men, they lack ba­sic peo­ple man­age­ment skills needed to move up.”

Busi­nesses are look­ing for skilled em­ploy­ees who can lead peo­ple. By se­lect­ing a busi­ness school that fo­cuses on or­ga­ni­za­tional dy­nam­ics, in­flu­ence and strate­gic think­ing, you will be bet­ter pre­pared to have a pos­i­tive im­pact in the or­ga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies you’re a part of through­out your ca­reer.

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