More than 61,000 people study for postgraduate qualifications in business administration studies in the United Kingdom, according to the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS).

While this leaves the MBA to account for nearly a quarter of all postgrad degrees, those considering enrolment may be hesitant, especially if they’ve just graduated. From keeping your personal career goals in mind to considering both the benefits and downfalls that such a programme can bring, here’s what you should know before making a final decision.

Keeping your own goals in mind

When deliberating whether or not you should take up an MBA programme, especially if you’ve just graduated, keeping your personal goals at the forefront of your mind is imperative to making the right decision. For example, should your ultimate career goals not require an MBA or you’re unsure about enrolling, taking a year or so to decide can allow you to explore whether or not your current degree is sufficient, and if making such a big investment is worth it. In fact, many students who completed an MBA felt as though the high price tags of their courses simply weren’t worth it, according to a survey of 3,532 MBA students at 95 graduate programmes around the world. However, if your goals involve gaining personal and professional development while furthering your studies (and qualifications) to attain a career path (such as an investment banker or consultant), then an MBA may certainly be worthwhile.

A life-changing experience?

There are a number of benefits associated with getting an MBA, from being the ultimate way to make professional connections in the field to the high potential for networking to broadening career opportunities. In fact, getting your MBA is a great way to gain the knowledge and skills you’ll need for career paths like accounting, business administration positions like marketing manager, and even entrepreneurship.

While many may consider MBAs to be a positive, life-changing experience, others may be hesitant to enrol due to their reputation as elitist. Research from the Forte Foundation found that a white MBA graduate in the United States can expect an average salary of $117,834 (approximately £85,250) just one year after graduation, while minority grads earn up to 16% less. Additionally, many experts, such as MIT Sloan MBA graduate John Benjamin, argue that such programmes are designed to suit a system dominated by the elite. Thankfully, MBA programmes across the UK and abroad recognise the need and importance of diversity in the workplace, with diverse programmes becoming more and more mainstream.

The downsides to consider

While an MBA is often regarded as a shortcut to a high salary, this simply isn’t true, and this must be understood by anyone considering enrolling. To add to this reality, it’s also worth considering that most full-time MBA courses in the UK last a year, making it a time commitment that may interfere with your other goals. While a year of studying after graduation might not seem like much, the challenging nature of MBA programmes is also worth keeping in mind, as courses like finance and accounting simply aren’t for everyone. However, these potential negatives can all be turned into a positive journey that can make graduation that much more worthwhile.

If you’ve just graduated and are considering enrolling in an MBA programme, having hesitations may lead you to heavily rethink the idea. By considering both the downfalls and the major benefits, and keeping your own goals in mind, you can come to the right decision for you.

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