Should you get an MBA or a specialized master’s degree? Here’s what you need to know.
With tuition skyrocketing and it becoming harder than ever to get into a good school, many students are looking for more attainable options. As they do, many are turning to the less well-known “non-traditional” institutions that cater to working professionals rather than traditional college students. To help decide which option is the best choice for them, here is a breakdown of programs offered by both types of schools.
Characteristics of a typical MBA student
Typically, you’ll find someone with an MBA to be a smart person who is driven by their desire to be successful and make their mark in the world. These are people who have done well in school but have also excelled at work. They’ve gone from salesperson to department head or from engineer to project manager. They’ve proven that they are not afraid of hard work and that they can achieve success by putting in the required hours.
Oftentimes, these individuals are looking for a way to take what they’ve learned over the years and put it into practice.
To summarize, most MBA students have an undergraduate degree and five years of experience in their chosen field. It is often a requirement that the individual has leadership experience and a fairly diverse academic background.
Characteristics of a typical master’s student
Many of the students who decide to go to graduate school are looking to further their education in a field where they feel they would benefit from specialized knowledge. Some of them may be pursuing a career transition and others may simply want more educational credentials. Regardless of the reason for going back to school, these individuals usually have at least two years of experience, but often much more, under their belt.
Entry to a master’s degree doesn’t normally require leadership experience – which can make a master’s more appealing to some students that have less practical working experience. In addition, a master’s tends to offer specialized education; for example, you may be looking for a Masters in Lean Manufacturing instead of a more general MBA.
To summarize, a typical master’s student will have a couple of years of experience and want to specialize in a particular field.
Benefits of studying for a postgraduate degree
MBA and master’s students often look to the benefits of going back to school as an opportunity to learn something new and improve their skills. This can be an important factor in the decision-making process. Here are some examples of what you may learn as an MBA or master’s student:
- Understanding how to work with others in a group setting
- How to effectively lead a team to get the most out of them
- How to effectively manage a project from beginning to end
- Improve your writing, presentation, and speaking skills by working with industry professionals.
A graduate degree can also be a great networking tool, especially if you’re looking for a job. MBA programs are more about business strategy and leadership, whereas master’s programs often focus on specific areas of expertise like accounting, engineering, manufacturing, or technology.
4 Things You’ll Want to Consider before Signing Up for an MBA Program
There are many things to consider when looking into an MBA program, but it’s important to remember that you should go into the decision with your eyes wide open. There are a lot of things that can happen in your future after graduation, and it’s important to make sure that you’re choosing a program that will be beneficial for you.
1. What is your career goal?
Depending on what career you are pursuing, you will want to choose a program that will further your career. For example, if you are going into finance, then it would probably make sense to choose a finance degree as opposed to an MBA since the focus is more on business and less on finance. However, if your goal is to eventually become the CFO of a company, then you might want to choose an MBA instead.
2. What is your personal preference?
Do you want to specialize in a field, or do you want a more generalist approach to your career? A specifically focused degree may be a better option for you. In addition, do you want to specialize in industry or academia?
3. Did finances factor into your decision-making?
Many factors went into your decision-making, like prestige and location, but remember to take into account the cost as well. Some schools may be more costly than others, but they may offer a better learning experience or better networking opportunities due to their student intake. For example, MBA students tend to be in leadership roles already, meaning you may benefit from a higher-quality personal network by completing an MBA.
4. How much time do you have to commit?
Studying for a postgraduate degree online is often more flexible than traditional methods of studying. So whether you opt for an MBA or a master’s, studying online will allow you to continue working or study around your existing responsibilities.
5 Things You’ll Want to Consider before Signing Up for a Master’s Degree
Different master’s programs have different benefits and they can be taken in a variety of formats. In general, you’ll want to choose a program that will help you to build on what you’ve learned in the past.
1. What is your career goal?
This question goes hand in hand with what was mentioned above, but this goes for classes as well as careers! You will want to pick a program that will help you develop the skills necessary for your career path. For example, if you’re looking at going into an engineering master’s program, then it wouldn’t make sense to get an MBA, since doing so would take away from the focus on being an engineer at that level.
2. What is your personal preference?
While you can have either a generalist or specialist approach to your master’s program, the majority of students will be looking for a graduate degree that will help them further their careers. This may be an important factor in your decision-making process!
3. Were finances a factor in your decision-making?
Admissions are competitive, so it is important to think about how your finances may factor into your decision-making. Some schools may be cheaper than others, but they may also be more expensive.
4. Were you thinking of taking classes off-campus?
Many master’s programs offer classes on-campus. However, some schools may have locations that are very close to your home, in which case, taking distance courses may make sense. Alternatively, some students prefer to take classes online due to the flexibility it offers.
5. How much time do you have to commit?
Online master’s degree programs allow you to take them from the comfort of your home and can be completed by any student with the required skills and qualifications.
In conclusion, getting a postgraduate degree has many benefits that can help you to reach your career goals. If those goals include starting your own business or moving into a senior leadership position, then an MBA may be your best option. However, if you are to specialize in your field, then a master’s degree may be more suitable.
That’s not where the story ends. Regardless of which type of postgraduate degree you opt for, you will benefit from the following:
1) Lifelong learning
The habits you develop while studying will help to develop lifelong learning skills. By learning new skills and gaining knowledge, you will be able to continue your personal growth and achieve professional development.
2) Personal satisfaction and improved self-worth
The reason why many people go into business for themselves is that they want to be their own boss and improve their quality of life. A postgraduate degree can help you to achieve success as an entrepreneur.
3) Develop your knowledge base
A postgraduate degree will help you to build on your knowledge and increase your understanding of the industry. This means that you will be able to think more clearly and critically about your field of study.
4) Access to a network of likeminded individuals
Having a network of colleagues is one of the most important factors when trying to grow a business, no matter what size. A postgraduate degree can help you build strong personal connections with peers and gain access to industry practitioners. Having this kind of support can give you an advantage when starting up a business or pursuing your career goals.
5) Improved adaptability
The demands of the modern working environment require highly skilled individuals who can cope with change and find new solutions quickly. A postgraduate degree helps to develop skills that will help you to manage effectively in dynamic and uncertain environments.
6) A qualification for life
The most successful people are those who understand how their career goals can fit with their personal life aspirations. Getting a postgraduate degree will help you to gain new professional experiences, which, in turn, can benefit your family life and social and personal development.
7) A more fulfilling career
Working in your field of study will help you feel fulfilled and give you a sense of satisfaction. This is because you will be able to feed your desire to learn more and advance your knowledge within the industry. You will also be equipped to take advantage of opportunities that may be offered to you.
8) A place in the future workforce
The skills gained from a postgraduate degree will help you to advance further in your career and create a pathway to furthering your career.
With technological advancements changing the way we work every year, a postgraduate degree will help you to future-proof your career. Continued learning and development of new skills will allow you to stay current with industry developments. This means that you will be able to adapt to any changes that occur in the future.
9) Build a personal network
Studying at a postgraduate level will allow you to build personal connections with fellow students, lecturers, and industry professionals, which can be a benefit when starting up your own business.
10) Aid personal development
A postgraduate degree will allow you to develop your personal skills to succeed in your industry and in your personal life. Learning to communicate effectively and being able to influence others are skills that can help you at work and socially.
11) Give you valuable insight
A postgraduate degree will provide you with a significant amount of experience and knowledge. This can open doors for you in more challenging areas, and it will help you to become a more valuable member of an organization.
12) Exposure to change
By taking postgraduate courses, you will be able to experience how things work in different industries and different countries. As you gain experience, you will become increasingly aware of how other sectors are using technology and changing their ways of working. This is important, as it can help you identify trends that will affect future developments in your industry. This insight can then aid in future decisions about what business areas are viable and which ones rely on outdated methods of operation.
The completion of a postgraduate degree is an exciting time. It is a challenge that requires commitment and hard work, but the benefits will last a lifetime. By thinking carefully about your career goals and deciding on the most appropriate type of qualification for your situation, you will be able to start down the right path toward your professional development.
Online master’s degree programs are common for those who are looking to complete their education on their own time. Though online programs often appeal to students because they don’t require having to travel, many people still prefer in-person classes. It is worth researching the options available near you to find what works best for you and your budget.
If you are looking to specialize in a particular field, then getting a master’s degree will help you to achieve professional success. If you are already in a leadership position and you are looking for a more general qualification, you may prefer to study for an MBA.