An MBA can do some incredible things for your career, and can definitely be an interesting thing to sink some time into if you’re serious about business and management. Some people plan to ultimately end up getting an MBA right from when they first start college after high school, and for them, it can be a matter of finding the right time when they’ve been in the workforce for long enough to gain the experience needed to really get the most out of the subject matter.
For others, though, getting an MBA or even aiming for a leadership role, whether in the industry they work in or by starting their own business, may not have always been part of their life’s plan. Getting an MBA can be a great way to unlock new opportunities, and in some situations, it can be the smartest move, even if you’d never really thought it would be a qualification you’d ever go for.
There are more accessible ways to get an MBA than ever before now, and with things like online MBA degrees and part time courses, it can be possible for you to do your MBA whether you can take time out from work or not, and whatever your financial situation, within reason.
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence (Robert Frost).
Here we look at ten situations in people’s lives and careers where starting an MBA could really make the most of an opportunity, or turn things around for the better:
#1 You’ve Hit a Ceiling on the Way up the Career Ladder
One of the most common scenarios where people begin to consider an MBA is when they feel like they can’t ascend above their current job position without further training or qualifications. This can often happen to people in middle management roles, who have worked their way up this far, but don’t feel they have the edge needed to compete for the far fewer executive roles above them. Getting an MBA can be the thing that helps someone at this stage in their career break through the ceiling.
Why this is a great situation to start an MBA in:
• You’re ready for the challenges that come with it
• You probably already know the requirements for jobs at the level above you, and what you need to skill up in
• You can study part time while you continue in your current role
• Your company may help you with the time and cost of the MBA
• Starting an MBA shows your employers you have ambitions toward the next tier
#2 You’ve Been Made Redundant
If you are made redundant from a job you’ve had for a while, you may well have received enough of a redundancy payout that you can afford not to find a new job immediately. You may also feel like searching for a new job at the same level as your old one isn’t really what you want to be doing right now. One approach that can work out very well here is to use the funding from your redundancy payment to support you while you study for a qualification that can help you re-enter your old industry at a higher level, or even change career altogether. Doing an MBA can be the perfect way to achieve this.
Why this situation is ideal for starting your MBA:
• Regain control over your career after an unexpected setback
• Make good use of the break a redundancy payout can afford you
• Prepare to take on new challenges
• Aim for jobs with a higher salary and greater responsibility
• You are likely to have the right experience to benefit from an MBA
#3 You Run a Small Business You Have Big Plans For
Being a small business owner requires wearing a lot of hats, and chances are some of these will be more of a challenge to you than others, depending on your experience and background. Doing an MBA while you work on growing your business can fill in any holes in your broader business and leadership skills and better equip you to navigate turning your business into everything it has the potential to be. An online MBA program could be something you could work on part time while you keep working on your business, and within a few years, you’ll be in a great position.
Why is this a good situation to study for an MBA in?
• Round out your business skills
• Apply the things you learn to your business as you go
• Your business experience will put the subject matter in context and make learning business theory easier
• Prepare yourself for growth
• Gain a qualification that clients, partners and investors hold in high esteem
#4 You’ve Taken a Few Years Out of Your Career to be a Stay at Home Parent
A lot of people choose to have one partner stay at home from work during the early years of their children’s lives. This can be great for the family, and can avoid childcare costs and logistical problems, however it can leave the parent staying at home feeling like they have a lot of catching up to do when they do decide to return to work. People who previously had very challenging jobs or were very focused on their work can also feel like time spent at home, while enjoyable in many ways, doesn’t provide the same interest and excitement as their careers did. Studying for an MBA online can be a way that stay at home moms or dads can make sure they’ll have good opportunities when they go back to the workforce, and also give them something ‘grown up’ to work on while they’re at home, helping avoid boredom.
Why this is a good situation to start an MBA:
• Online MBA courses make it easy to study while at home with the kids
• You can study flexibly and do the MBA at your own pace
• Open up new options for your future career
• Enjoy the challenge and interest of a business degree
#5 You Want to Take a Career Break, But Come Back More Employable Than Ever
For some people, the idea of taking a sabbatical from their career can be a very appealing one. Some people like the idea of taking a year out to travel, or to do something serious with one of their passions, such as writing a book or touring with their band. If you’ve saved up the money and would like to have a career break, but you don’t want to be at a disadvantage when you want to go back to your career, then doing your MBA online while you’re doing other things can mean you’ll have an even better career to look forward to once your gap is up.
Why this is a great situation to start an MBA in:
• Further your career while also taking a vacation from it
• Online study means you can do your MBA even while traveling
• Remove the struggle of finding a good position after a long break
• Become more employable in general
• Study something interesting and rewarding
#6 You Are a Senior Manager Who Feels Too Specialized
Some people do an MBA when they have already made their way into senior management via a specialist path, because they want to learn more about the general business side of things and become more effective, as well as stay on top of the current climate in business and leadership. If you are a senior manager who specializes in an area like finance or technology, then doing a part time MBA can give you more rounded skills, and could equip you to become a CEO.
Why this is a good time to study for an MBA:
• Broaden your understanding
• Become more effective
• Relate better to other business units in your organization
• Develop your leadership skills further
#7 You Want to Become an Entrepreneur
Some people think the main reason to do an MBA is because it makes you very employable at high levels, and that if you don’t want to be hired, then it isn’t worth it. Actually, there are lots of advantages to doing an MBA if you want to start your own business.
Why this is a good time to start working for an MBA:
• Get the skills you need to run a successful business
• Gain a qualification investors and potential clients will respect
• Be inspired by the things you study, finding new ideas for your business
#8 You’ve Always Wanted to do an MBA, and You’ve Got the Right Experience Now
For some people, especially those who already attended a business school, an MBA is the next logical step in their career plan. However, it is a prerequisite for undertaking an MBA that you have some ‘real world’ work experience, preferably including some time with managerial roles. Because of this, some people, once they enter the workforce, get engrossed in their work and forget to keep asking themselves whether the time is right to take that next step with their education. If you have been working for a few years, review where you are and whether an MBA would make sense for you right now. If you want to do it and feel ready, but are also happy where you’re working, then it could be the ideal situation to talk to your boss about your plans, and see if your company will assist you while you do an MBA part time.
Why this is a great scenario for starting your MBA:
• Your company may support you with extra time off for study
• Your company may even pay for your MBA
• Your efforts will impress senior management at your job and mark you as ambitious
• You’ll enjoy meeting the challenge of starting your postgrad course
#9 You Want to Move from Specialist to Leader in Your Industry
Are you someone who is extremely competent in your specialist area, but would now like to move into management (or start your own company)? People who have successfully made careers for themselves in specialist disciplines, for example programming, trades, accountancy, and so on, may find there is a big gap when it comes to senior specialist jobs and management roles above supervisory positions. An MBA can give you the skills to bridge that gap and become a capable leader, while still building on the experience you gained as a specialist. This can be a good way for an IT specialist to prepare to become head of the development department where they work, or even to become a CTO, or for an accountant to move towards CFO status.
Why you should do an MBA in this situation:
• Study part time while you keep working
• Advance your career and increase your salary
• Learn to be a good leader for other specialists
#10 You’re an Executive Looking to Move to Another Company
Finally, some people decide to do an MBA when they are already at executive levels in a company they have been with for a while, because they want to have the clout to move to a more prestigious company, or change industries at a senior level. If you’re an executive who doesn’t have an MBA, and is looking to move to new opportunities, then getting your MBA online part time could be just the thing to make you more desirable to other businesses.
Why you should do an MBA if you’re in this scenario:
• Give yourself better career options
• You’ll find the contents of the course very easy to relate to real world business
• Make new connections
• Learn management and leadership skills that can apply across different industries, allowing you to change sectors if you want to
As you can see, there are situations that could apply to people from all walks of life and with all different current and future goals where getting an MBA could be a fantastic idea. If you find yourself thinking that one or more of these apply to you, then it could be well worth taking a look at the different options for doing an online MBA, and considering getting started on the road to having those valuable three letters after your name!