Are you long overdue for a salary boost? Jonesing for a promotion? Ready to add mad skills that will, in fact, pay the bills? Then an MBA is absolutely worth your time and energy.
Cool, I see the value. But is an MBA hard?
Earning your MBA doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require dedication and perseverance.
MBA students need to set aside time to be in class, study, and collaborate on team projects. You’ll also have to commit to taking on a rigorous curriculum that spans all areas of business—from finance and marketing to analytics and leadership. Getting out of your comfort zone is the point; the holistic understanding of how business operates is part of what makes those with an MBA degree so valuable to employers.
“My liberal arts degree formed me into a critical thinker, taught me how to look at problems differently and to be an exceptional writer and communicator. My MBA showed me how to lead and run a business operationally and to strategically manage change.”
For the most part, schools do not put an age limit on a master’s program. For older working professionals with upwards of 10 years of experience, the advanced curriculum of an MBA program designed for executives, a leadership certificate, or an executive advancement certificate may be a better fit.
I’ve got a big idea, but limited business experience. Is an MBA worth it for entrepreneurs?
Should entrepreneurs get an MBA? Good question. Would you start building an IKEA desk without the instructions? Would you attempt CPR without a training course?
Starting a business without an MBA is a bit like navigating an interstate highway system without a map. It’s possible. But not recommended.
Entrepreneurship with an MBA means you’ll have a clear understanding of how a business functions, top to bottom. Running a successful company means balancing a budget, creating a marketing plan, hiring the right people, and developing a strategy for long-term success. And that’s just for starters.
Do you know how to use the troves data you’ll be collecting from prospects and customers to make better business decisions? Are you able to properly file for a business license and navigate tax law? Can you effectively manage growth?
Some MBA programs offer opportunities to focus on entrepreneurship through specializations and certificates. This allows you to further tailor your MBA experience, so you’re prepared to launch your venture.
One of the best online MBA programs in the nation, from University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, also offers a concentration in entrepreneurship5. U.S. News & World Report also offers a comprehensive ranking of MBA programs for entrepreneurs.
“People often think they know what it takes to be a good leader. Then they get into leadership classes and say, 'Wow, I have been doing this all wrong.’ They start utilizing the tools they learn in those classes and can see the effects on their team immediately.”
Why should I do an online MBA? You won’t be just phoning it in.
There was a time when an online MBA got a bit of side-eye. But those days are over. The current list of the Princeton Review’s Top 50 Online MBA Programs5 includes a prestigious selection of top-ranked institutions. Which means you aren’t sacrificing on quality when you choose an online program.
Online programs allow you to learn from anywhere – your home office, your favorite coffee shop (headphones in!), your man cave. Synchronous classes have set schedules when you’ll need to show up with your camera on and a fresh shave. Asynchronous classes offer recorded content you can watch in your undies, if that’s your thing.
Many online programs give you the chance to learn at your own pace. That means you can rack up one course at a time, over time, and take the time you need to finish. This balance works well if you’re in the midst of raising a family, buying a home, or other major life changes.
They’ve got cred.
Cross-reference the data, and you’ll find that many of the top-ranked part-time MBA programs in the country also top the list of online MBAs—including Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, University of Southern California Marshall, and Indiana University (Kelley), to name a few.
Look for accredited online MBA programs that are certified by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a global organization that provides quality assurance and oversight for business education.
In closing you may still be asking yourself: Can you afford it? Certainly. In fact, the Iowa MBA is one of the most affordable online MBA programs, clocking in at well under $33,750 for a program highly ranked by both Forbes and the Princeton Review. Compare that to $82,158 for the #1-ranked program… and it doesn’t take an MBA to know a deal when you see it.
- “Corporate Recruiters Survey – 2023 Summary Report.” Graduate Management Admissions Council, July 2023.
- Haan, Kathy. “Average Salary by Age in 2023.” Forbes, May 23, 2023.
- “Enrolled Students Survey – 2022 Summary Report.” Graduate Management Admissions Council, September 2022.
- Flynn, Jack. “25 Educational MBA Statistics (2023): Average Age, Cost and Salary for MBA Graduates.” Zippia, March 28, 2023.
- “Top 50 Online MBA Programs for 2023.” Princeton Review, 2023.