You’ve probably come across a number of people in the workforce who will tell you that their MBA is what helped them learn the skills required to be in the management position they are at today. Choosing to do an MBA will not just lead to a turning point in your career, but it is also a way to learn new skills to help you face the challenges that an increasingly competitive work environment may throw at you.
However, an MBA isn’t the only way to learn new skills. Moreover, your organisation may be one that doesn’t value an MBA degree. So if you plan to return to your current organisation post your MBA, it may not make much of a difference to your career. Before you decide to step back into the world of education, you need to understand if this degree will add value to your life.
Is an MBA right for you?
An MBA trains you in a number of business-related fields. It teaches you how to organise and analyse data, look for the cause of a problem, and come up with data-backed solutions. It also teaches you how to make decisions that have positive long-term outcomes. All skills that are necessary for most corporate jobs out there. But is it the right degree for you?
The perceived value of this qualification depends on two factors. The first is, does the sector that you work in or want to work in consider an MBA degree important? The second factor is, do you think that the degree will add value to your life?
The answer to the first question is extremely important because if the sector you want to grow your career in doesn’t think that an MBA adds value, then you will just be wasting time and money by pursuing this degree. Another organisational factor to consider is if the degree will help you break the glass ceiling when it comes to promotions at the workplace. If this is the case, then you should do an MBA.
The answer to the second question is a no-brainer. If you believe that this degree will help you hone new skills and make you better at your job, then by all means, pursue a Masters in Business Administration.
When should you do an MBA?
Now that you know for sure that you want to do an MBA, check if you meet the requirements of the colleges you want to apply to. Some colleges may need you to have worked for a minimum number of years or have an undergraduate degree from a well-known university. Public universities in Singapore, for instance, require all MBA aspirants to have worked full-time for at least 2 years.
If you meet the requirements that most colleges have asked for, then the next step is to decide if you want to pursue a full-time or a part-time course. This is an extremely important consideration since a full-time course will mean that you will have to quit your current job. This can have several implications. For example, will you be able to handle not earning a steady income? What about any financial commitments that you already have? How will you plan for them?
With a part-time degree, you will have to see if you can handle the pressures of work, family, and rigorous course material. Also consider how your sector views a part-time MBA degree and if they value it the same way they would a full-time degree.
Once you have the answers to these questions, it will be easy for you to make a decision regarding when you should go in for your degree.
How much does an MBA cost?
Education is expensive and higher education even more so. Pursuing your MBA in public universities such as the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) or Singapore Management University can cost you anywhere between S$62,000 to S$67,000 in 2018. Private universities in Singapore can set you back anywhere from S$15,000 to S$100,000. If you decide to do your MBA from one of the best business schools in the world, then you will have to shell out much more. For instance, an MBA from Harvard will cost you around S$207,000. If you take inflation into consideration, then these numbers are bound to increase.
It is important to note that the numbers mentioned above are just the tuition fees. When you take into consideration the amount you have to pay for books, meals, and living expenses, the amount only increases. To add to this, if you decide to do a full-time MBA, then you will no longer receive a regular income. So, figuring out how to fund your education is important.
How can you fund your MBA?
The costs involved in doing your MBA should not be a roadblock when it comes to pursuing your educational dreams. In fact, colleges realise that not everyone can afford to pay these fees, which is why they offer scholarships and grants. Some colleges will offer you a complete scholarship on your tuition fees so you will only have to pay for your living expenses. Other institutions may offer you a partial scholarship.
If you don’t qualify for a scholarship you can also ask your employer to fund your higher education. In fact, many organisations encourage their employees to upgrade their skills and even have tie-ups with business schools. Understand what the higher education policy in your organisation is so that you can take advantage of the opportunities that they provide.
If both of these options don’t work for you then you can always consider taking an education loan. If you have been accepted to a reputed institution, banks will not hesitate in loaning you the money. Moreover, if you have maintained a good credit standing then getting a loan would not be a problem.
Some banks even have a list of preferred colleges and will offer you lower rates of interest if you have been accepted to the MBA programme of a college that falls under their list. If you have a guarantor, then banks will also provide you with a loan amount that is up to 10 times the combined monthly income of both you and your guarantor.
So, before you decide to get back to school make sure that you have considered all of these factors. This way you will be able to make a decision that you won’t regret!