Featured Whistler Question newspaper column, April 18, 2017: Is a MBA Right for You?
The importance of continual learning in today’s business world is undeniable. With an option to study online, MBA degrees have soared in popularity. But is it right for you?
There are over 160 MBA courses in Canada at 41 different schools. From General and Executive MBAs to ones focusing on an assortment of subjects, MBA courses in Canada fall in one of three categories: generalized, specialized and combined.
Generalized degrees are typically two years in length and cover the fundamentals of business in the first year, with the choice of concentrating in a specific area in the second. Designed to allow students to develop knowledge and skills in management disciplines, it can be customized through a variety of elective modules.
Specialized degrees have become increasingly available over the last few years. Suitable for those that are certain of the direction they want to take their career, a specialized MBA gives students the chance to become experts in a particular field of study.
Combined degrees last up to four years and allow students to simultaneously get their degree in business and another field.
Some of the core classes cover areas such as marketing, management, finance, entrepreneurship and leadership.
How to Assess if a MBA is Right for You
One of the best ways to assess if a MBA is right for you is to do your research. Several schools that offer MBA programs release annual employment reports. You can access a breakdown of graduates by country of origin, gender, employment by sector and pay.
This information can be quite detailed. For example, reports from University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School showed that in 2014, 92 per cent of their students seeking employment landed jobs within three months of earning their degree, with the average salary (with bonus and other compensation) pegged at $98,205.
Summary of What a MBA Could Get For You
- Money – On average, your MBA could be worth between $10-30,000 per year more over a bachelor’s degree, but keep in mind that a salary increase isn’t guaranteed. You will also want to weigh that against the cost of a MBA degree and how long it will take you to pay it off. To use the abovementioned Ivey Business School, their tuition is $80,000 for a 12 month MBA program. Of course, tuition costs vary widely and can range from $4,000 to almost $100,000.
- Career prospects – The average employment rate for MBA graduates in Canada six months after graduation is 93.9 percent.
- Promotions – It is thought that employees with an MBA move higher up with greater ease.
- Skills and Knowledge – You’ll learn a broad spectrum of management tools and techniques but beyond that, MBA graduates develop ‘softer’ skills around teamwork, critical thinking, clear communication and problem solving, as well as time management. All of this results in greater confidence as a bonus.
- Network – . Many MBA graduates list the network of contacts as a definite perk.
It Depends on You
Bottom line is that it depends on your career goals whether a MBA degree is a fit for you. Although there may not be a guarantee that an employee with a MBA reaps immediate salary boosts, you will develop knowledge, skills and confidence to bolster your career. Taking that and applying them to a job that you truly love will be the true measure of success.
I’D LOVE TO KNOW: Do you have a MBA and what is the greatest advantage it has given you?
At Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers business and life coaching, workshops and the popular Whistler Open Forum Speaker Series. She is founder of Lighthouse Mentor Network, a mentor program nominated for Small Business BC Awards for 5 consecutive years. Cathy writes this column for the Whistler Question newspaper.