Whether you’re just finishing up your bachelor’s degree or are immersed in a career in business, now may be the right time to pursue a Master of Business Administration. If you’d like to begin your career or advance within it, the Online Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business may provide you with the education you’ve been looking for.
Before you’re ready to start applying to business schools, you might want to do a little research on MBA programs to make sure the degree is the right fit for your goals. Here are some questions you might have about acquiring a business education, along with some answers to help guide you as you apply to and attend graduate school:
How Hard Is It to Get an MBA?
Before you spend the time and money on a master’s program, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s going to be worth it. Additionally, as a business-minded professional, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a return on investment. Fortunately, sources indicate that an MBA degree can lead to many positive outcomes.
Some students are hesitant to pursue MBAs for one main reason: They wonder how hard it is to get an MBA and are afraid programs will be too difficult. It’s a master’s degree, after all, so it will be a challenge. For many professionals, however, the potential benefits of earning an MBA — such as a higher salary, more job autonomy and the variety of new opportunities available to them after graduation — more than make up for the rigors of higher education.
Prospective students should consider the entry requirements for MBA programs. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree and, in many cases, have a minimum grade-point average. Many programs also require a letter of recommendation, professional work history, essays and completion of the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
Do You Need a Business Degree to Get an MBA?
Even if you didn’t pursue a bachelor’s in business, you can still earn an MBA, and many MBA students come from backgrounds unrelated to business. In these instances, professionals might be trying to improve their marketability, as gaining business expertise can make them better-rounded in their current paths. Other MBA candidates may be pursuing a master’s degree to transition into a new career.
However, if you did earn a bachelor’s degree in some area of business — such as finance, marketing or human resources management — you can leverage your MBA as a means of building upon the business knowledge you already have in your specialization. Particularly if you gained a more focused understanding of business during your undergraduate studies, you may benefit from an MBA program’s holistic approach.
Reasons to Get an MBA
While many organizations will offer roles to candidates with a bachelor’s degree alone, they often view MBA graduates at a higher level. When you’re hunting for a new job or seeking upward mobility in your current company, an MBA can really set you apart. The following are some of the reasons to consider when deciding whether you should get an MBA and exploring how higher education can help you reach your professional goals:
MBA Graduate Salary
In addition to providing MBA graduates with advanced knowledge in their area of specialization, these programs can increase their earning potential. According to PayScale, the median salary for professionals with a Master of Business Administration was approximately $91,000 per year as of September 2021, while those with only a bachelor’s degree in business earned a median annual salary of approximately $62,000.
The Ability to Specialize
Many companies are looking for graduates who can take on roles that require specific expertise. By specializing, graduates gain the skills and knowledge required for those tasks. Most MBA programs offer the option to choose a specialization, such as business analytics or supply chain management.
While general knowledge is an asset, the ability to specialize and gain advanced skills can be of great value to both a company and the student. After completing a specialized MBA, graduates are more likely to be trusted with independent projects or tasks that grant them more autonomy.
Master Managerial and Leadership Skills
In any organization, candidates with the ability to lead, manage projects and work cohesively with others are of high value. During the pursuit of an advanced degree such as an MBA, students can build strong managerial and leadership skills, preparing them for supervisory roles in the workplace. Graduates who can prove that they are up to the challenge of leading projects are in high demand due to their ability to take on tasks responsibly and without supervision.
Networking and Business Relationships
MBA programs allow students to learn from other business professionals. Their connections with each other and their instructors can lead to future opportunities to reach their professional goals.
Because business master’s degree programs cover a wide range of subjects, this level of education can help you gain a big-picture understanding of business. That’s why an MBA can be useful in giving graduates the skills they need to move from entry- and mid-level positions into management roles. In an entry-level position, you might only need to know the ins and outs of one specific area of the business. However, in a managerial role, you may need to collaborate across multiple teams, overseeing employees who are doing work outside of your undergraduate area of study.
Why You Should Get an MBA
Some hesitate to enroll in an MBA program because they worry that it will be too difficult on top of work obligations, while others don’t want to stall their careers to take time off for school. However, modern business schools offer a variety of options to accommodate different students. Many students who want to keep working pursue part-time MBA degrees to avoid burnout. Another option for busy individuals balancing a degree with other commitments is an online MBA program. The convenience and flexibility of online programs can allow students to commit to earning a new credential while dealing with the demands of their busy work and home life schedules.
Prepare for the Future with an MBA
When you’re ready to improve your business expertise and become an asset to your present and future companies, look into the Online Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The broad curriculum offers foundational and advanced business courses covering topics in the fields of finance, entrepreneurship and leadership, among a range of other subjects. With its fully online curriculum and extensive alumni network, UMD’s program is designed to prepare you for a successful future in business on your own terms.