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Who should and shouldn't apply for an MBA

Is an MBA Right for You? It depends on what you want to get out of it.

When it comes to career prospects, the data are compelling. Whether getting your first great job, climbing the corporate ladder, or pivoting into a new field, a business degree can propel professionals forward through their careers.2022 Survey by Graduate Managerial Admissions Council 9 out of 10 MBA OR Business Master graduates have experienced strong career progression and financial benefits within 10 years of earning their degree.

But not all degrees and even less formalized skill builders can be built for everyone, everywhere, at once. When considering whether or where to apply for an MBA, candidates should first delve into specific goals and objectives, said the Associate Dean of Education and Globalization at the University of Washington’s Olin School of Business. Behavioral professor Andrew Knight said: St. Louis.

“I think one of the key factors involved is what the person wants,” says Knight. Poets & Quants“If you want to broaden your generalist skill set and have a long-term desire to be a leader in your career, an MBA is probably the right choice for you.

“This is in contrast to someone who aspires to deepen their technical skill set and be on par with a functional or technical guru in a particular field. It is the most basic differentiation we see in the

Proliferation of Choices in Business Education

The range and potential ROI of the various degrees, certificates, and skills bootcamps currently available in graduate business education is enormous and seems to grow every quarter. In business schools, students can choose from a traditional MBA. Increase in online MBAs, or a host of certifications and professional master’s degrees. Villanova Business School is Master of Science in Church Administrationfor example, Duke Fuqua has MSc in Quantitative Financial Economics, many top business schools Dive into data analysis in any kind of way.

Business education platforms and skill builders are also exploding outside traditional business schools. for example, Conversation with Scott Galloway About his online platform Section 4, aims to make elite business education more accessible to the majority of people who could not afford it or were unable to enroll for various reasons. Or try searching for technical skills on YouTube. Free and ready-to-apply tutorials.

The MBA is still considered the king of graduate business degrees, but the wide variety of programs and platforms available today begs the question. rising costs?

Knight leads 19 different degree programs at Olin Business School, ranging from undergraduate to master’s, executive education, and doctoral programs. Poets & Quants spoke with him this week about when it makes the most sense to get an MBA, what a degree can still really help you with, and when you should consider other avenues of business education. Our conversation is below, edited for length and clarity.

When is an MBA program most effective?

Andrew Knight, Olin Business School

Andrew Knight, Olin Business School

There are a few things that make an MBA program a really good fit for someone. The first concerns orientation learning. We attract a large number of curious and adventurous students who love learning. I think this is particularly relevant to his full-time MBA program. Of course, for a program that costs money, an intrinsic love of learning is not, in itself, a valid reason to enroll in her MBA. Indeed, there are many options available for pursuing the course of study that people are inherently invested in. For example, YouTube is a great place to learn and grow.

So for those interested in pursuing a prestigious MBA program, I believe that an innate love of learning is a necessary ingredient, but usually not enough.

I think the second factor is having a desire for professional growth and progress. A bit of extrinsic motivation that acts on people for whom an MBA program is particularly relevant and attractive. People looking to dramatically accelerate their careers in research.

Since an MBA is a broader business education, what kinds of questions and considerations should people make when thinking about a more professional program?

Part of it certainly happens within the admissions and recruitment cycle. As part of that pipeline, there are so many options for graduate degree programs for students to consider. The decision is whether they are dual degree programs or an MBA and a specialized master’s degree focused on finance, for example.

A second important characteristic to consider is the level of experience you already have. We believe that a few years of full-time work experience are likely to provide a high return on investment for an MBA program. This allows you to participate in truly human-centered courses and make the most of them through the challenges and successes you may have had in your previous work experience. Yes, but probably less of a growth and learning success factor than a generalist MBA program.

What are some situations to consider before pursuing an MBA?

I think the first thing that should give someone pause as to whether it’s worth investing in is if they don’t have a clear purpose in mind. If you don’t have a clear picture of the value you’re going to get from the program, I don’t think it’s time to submit that application. This is very step zero because that thought process not only helps you decide whether or not to pursue a degree, but also in choosing which particular program is the best one to give you value. Therefore, I think that clarifying the purpose is absolutely number one.

The second important characteristic to look at, which could be an off-ramp for some, is the issue of return on investment or value proposition. If you’re serious about getting an MBA and deepening your technical skills in a particular area, you might walk away from an MBA and all the money that comes with it. Instead, we recommend that you choose one of the more technical routes to earn your degree. Or, frankly, if it’s an area you think you can learn well enough on your own, and you’re an independent learner and aren’t really interested in building a professional network, you might actually go to YouTube. I can’t. Or take some of the online courses available and improve your skills such as data analysis along the way.

It’s interesting that you mentioned it. I recently had a conversation with Section 4 founder Scott Galloway and talked a little bit about the disruptor space on online platforms. How big of a disruptor do you think these online spaces are in your opinion?

The dramatic growth of high production value online professional courses is a disruptive factor, but I also believe it will be a catalyst for accelerating innovation in business schools. Any business school looking to continue offering degree programs today and into the future needs to innovate in this area.

When I think of my kids, who have just completed two years of virtual schooling in some cases, they have different ideas of what they can learn. These production-value kinds of platforms are helping business schools do things and innovate in different ways, leverage some of the unique assets we have, and develop some of the new skill sets we need. I think it’s a great product for learning…to provide education in a very sophisticated, very engaging, and very entertaining way. I think there’s a huge opportunity there, but you have to confuse yourself so you don’t become confused and obsolete.

What do you think traditional MBAs still do well, and where do you think they need to change?

The first thing that makes traditional full-time residential MBA programs work so well, much better than online platforms, is relationship building and professional network growth. Participating in a cohort online program can help you build an arm’s length network through LinkedIn, but it’s really hard to build the deep and meaningful relationships that late-night study groups and face-to-face together can do. you will have a hard time. For our program in Olin, we travel the world together. This is a quick way to build lifelong relationships that are very fulfilling not only for professional reasons, but also personally. Even if they are involved, I think online programs will continue to struggle.

Where business schools generally need to improve is the speed of innovation. Academia is an aircraft carrier. Given the rhythm of the academic cycle of the academic year, changing institutions can be very difficult. What I find frustrating, and what our entrepreneurship faculty and leads are frustrating, is that there might be some great ideas for new courses that we know we should offer today. is. And when I was at a startup company before coming to academia, I was able to do that. In academia, on the other hand, it’s a much larger, slower-moving system. I think one of the great things about some of these newer online platforms is the ability to quickly generate content that looks instantly engaging and relevant to the moment. It will take a little longer for academia to roll out formal degree courses accredited by accrediting bodies.

Following page: Advice for Aspiring MBA + Value of a Degree