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5 Signs It's time for Your MBA

signs its time for mba

An MBA opens up a variety of career opportunities, but how do you know when it is time to start looking for a suitable MBA program? You may be concerned about taking yourself out of the workforce or, if you plan to attend a part-time program, adding another commitment to your already busy schedule.

After years of speaking with prospective MBA students, we have identified five key triggers that ultimately helped professionals make the final decision to pursue their MBA. If any of the following sound familiar, then it may be time to advance your skillset and make your dreams a reality.

1. You’re stuck in your current position.

If you have mastered your current job function and are no longer stimulated or satisfied by the work, it’s time to consider other options. It matters little if you are stuck because of an insufficient skill set or because your position or company provides no upside. Regardless of the reason, being honest about your current predicament is an important first step to the next part of your professional journey.

An MBA provides enterprise-wide knowledge about business and the economy and prepares you to pursue a more rewarding career. It opens your eyes to the many facets of business and paves the way to a wide array of job opportunities, allowing you to choose a career that’s both satisfying and rewarding.

2. Good jobs are only open to those with MBAs.

Almost every profession in today’s complex marketplace requires some kind of advanced training. On-the-job training is still an important aspect of climbing the corporate ladder but, in many instances, having a master’s degree is the price of admission.

According to Elizabeth Freedman, author of “The MBA Student’s Job-Seeking Bible,” some organizations expect applicants for senior roles to have an MBA or another advanced degree. Having an MBA “is practically a requirement for certain positions,” she says. While an MBA has long been the norm for those interested in finance or consulting, job postings across a wide spectrum of industries increasingly state that a “master’s degree in business is preferred.”

If all the job postings that look attractive to you require an MBA, then you know it’s time.

3. You’re losing out on promotions to colleagues with skills equal to yours.

Have you ever been passed over for a promotion knowing full well that your qualifications are just as good, if not better, than the colleague who got the position? Data suggests that those with an MBA are more likely to receive promotions and pay increases. Not only do MBA graduates earn on average 50% more than their pre-MBA pay, but they also enjoy an 80% average rise in salary during the five years immediately after completing their program of study. These figures suggest that MBA graduates rise through the corporate ranks more quickly, taking on more responsibilities in exchange for higher wages and increased salaries. Instead of arguing whether the vetting process for promotions is fair, invest the energy in improving your own chances of success.

4. You have a clear career goal in mind.

One of the best reasons to get an MBA is that it sets you on a course for long-term success. Becoming a senior executive doesn’t happen overnight; it requires lots of hard work, tenacity and perseverance. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. The most common trait among successful business leaders is their ability to step out of their comfort zone and continuously add new skills to their resume. Even if you are an entrepreneur, having an understanding of the risks of managing a small business can be the difference between success and failure. However, no matter what course you choose, you will need a plan.

5. Your family life and financial circumstances support the endeavor.

There is no “right” time to get an MBA. Many factors will influence your decision to enroll now or wait until next year. Regardless of when you apply, don’t underestimate the importance of having the support of your family, spouse, partner and friends. Whether you decide to go full-time or part-time, your free time will be in short supply.

In addition to the tuition cost, make sure you have the financial resources to support your family, especially if you are foregoing your current income to enroll full-time. Scholarships and employer tuition reimbursement programs can help defray the costs, but there may be other fees and expenses that may require you to dip into your savings. Part-time MBA programs allow students to attend evenings or weekend classes eliminating the need to disrupt your work schedule. While part-time programs have become more popular, the time demands can take a toll on your family and friends.


An MBA is perhaps one of the most versatile professional degrees that you can earn. It prepares one for success throughout a business career in any job function or industry. The best measure of the return on your investment is the personal and financial rewards that you’ll earn over your entire professional career, not just your first year’s salary after graduation.

If you are stuck in your current position, missing out on promotions or being rejected by recruiters, it may be time to get out of your comfort zone and return to school for some additional formal training.

Categories: MBA