How to decide when to seek an MBA

September 21, 2017

Earn an MBA straight out of college or wait until you have professional experience?

Weigh the pros and cons of earning your MBA right away or gaining professional experience before you seek your master’s. 

Are you a recent or soon-to-be graduate? Depending on your desired career path, you may be thinking about seeking a post-graduate degree. Many individuals who are interested in business consider the Master of Business Administration (MBA). If you’re thinking it over, read through the following pros and cons, developed by a Raymond James recruiter, associated with both continuing your education right after graduation and choosing to wait until you have job experience before striving to obtain this master’s degree.

The pros of waiting

  • Waiting allows you to acquire real-world experience in your profession.
  • Gaining experience helps you add more value to class dialogue than a recent graduate.
  • Waiting to obtain your MBA allows you to identify a career path that you know you are happy to pursue, and solidify whether you need an MBA for that field.

The cons of waiting

  • Going back to school can be difficult for many reasons, including growing familial and financial obligations.
  • Experiencing numerous life changes after receiving your undergraduate degree could impact your ability to go back to school.
  • Maintaining motivation to manage a full-time job and schoolwork could be difficult.
  • Making big changes such as pursuing relationships, starting a family, purchasing a home or other circumstances may become more of a priority the longer you wait.

The pros of continuing

  • Having already obtained your MBA will differentiate you from other recent graduates in the application pool. 
  • You will not have to worry about the stress of balancing a full-time job and the pursuit of a graduate degree.
  • You may have an easier time seeking better jobs or opportunities for advancement than those who have not obtained an MBA.

The cons of continuing

  • While an MBA might typically allow for higher compensation, a lack of experience could hinder this.
  • You may decide to change career paths and no longer need an MBA.
  • Saving money is a major consideration for recent graduates, so it can be difficult to decide whether the financial obligation will pay off without knowing how you’ll be using the degree.

Ultimately, the decision of when or whether to seek an MBA is yours, and no one can make it for you. The most important thing to do is to put plenty of thought and time into weighing the pros and cons and making the decision that you believe is right for you.