Should I Earn My MBA Now or Later?

MBA Student Overlooking the City

We in the Fermanian School of Business are often asked if it’s better to work for a few years before completing an MBA program. And while the answer may be different depending on your unique circumstances, below are four reasons to consider if now is the right time to get your MBA regardless of your work experience.

1. The Right Time in Your Life

Timing is probably the biggest factor to consider.

Although it can be a bit cliché, there truly is no time like the present. Your current life situation may allow you to complete your MBA in only one year, and if that’s the case, then it might be wise to continue your education now.

This is especially true if you’re a recent college graduate since you’re most likely already conditioned for school life (studying for exams, balancing homework with other life responsibilities, etc.). You may benefit from riding that wave of momentum into graduate school; especially since the further out of school you become, the harder it is to go back.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t seem to get less complicated, especially as we get older.

If you are at a point in your life where you have the time and availability for school, then strongly consider seizing the opportunity to earn your MBA now.

MBA Students talking

2. Better Empowered to Reach Your Potential

Earning your MBA earlier in your career can help open doors sooner, allowing opportunities to pursue your purpose in business and beyond.

You will still have to put in the time and effort, as everyone does regardless of their education, to move up in your career. However, you’ll have the necessary education to reach your potential quicker, especially if you hope to move into leadership someday.

It’s no secret that having an MBA on your resume will often provide opportunities sooner for you than others in the same season of their career without a graduate degree. Your continued work experience coupled with an MBA will only make you a more valuable candidate in the eyes of employers as you progress in your career.

Become who are you called to be
Pursue your purpose at PLNU.

3. Real-World Working Experience

We are sure you’re already aware of the dilemma: employers are looking for young professionals with experience, but how do young professionals acquire experience without being hired in the first place?

That’s why the opportunity to obtain real-world experience is so important. Earning your MBA can allow you to develop experience in competitive analysis, market research, branding, project management, accounting, healthcare management, presenting to senior management, and more.

One way we help out Early Career MBA students gain real-world working experience is through our Field Experience course that offers actual business experience while students earn their MBA.

How do young professionals acquire experience without being hired in the first place?

As part of the course, they participate in a field project with a small group of students, giving them the chance to collaborate with senior management in analyzing and solving a live business problem.

Unlike an internship, where students risk gaining only a narrow set of practical skills or not having access to senior management, the Field Experience offers students the type of high level and meaningful experience for which employers are looking.

4. A Professional Mentor for Guidance

It can be difficult to navigate your professional career when you’re just starting off out of college.

And there’s no denying it — it helps to know people who have gone before you in your field of interest.

By earning your MBA now, you can be matched with a mentor from the corporate community who can give you firsthand insight about their industry, as well as help you cultivate your interest, skills, and potential as you decide which direction you want to go in after you graduate. It can be a great gift to have access to the resources, people, and experience that an MBA program offers earlier in life as opposed to later — and to learn from those who have gone before you as you set about pursuing your purpose in the business world.

MBA Students at Networking Event

Since many young people are not quite sure what they want to do, exposing them to mentors, both in the form of business professionals and faculty, can help them better pursue their true purpose after they graduate.

About the Author

Jamie M. Ressler, DBA, is the Associate Dean of Graduate Business Education and teaches marketing in PLNU’s Daytime MBA program. She has experience working in corporate and nonprofit marketing, public relations, and fundraising. Her research and consulting work has focused on strategic planning, marketing, and innovation.