Why Business School? Top 10 Reasons to Apply
Are you mulling over the idea of attending business school? That's terrific, but hold your horses! Business school represents one of the biggest investments that you can make in yourself – in terms of time, effort, and money. The application process takes considerable patience and filters out many candidates, so it's important that you're clear and confident in your purpose. If you're still at the soul searching stage, read on to learn about some of the reasons that have enticed generations to apply over the years.
Get A Well Rounded Education in Business
If you want to become an expert in management, or specific areas of business, look no further than business school. As an MBA student, you'll delve deep (and, sometimes, really deep) into the different branches of business, such as accounting, economics, finance, organizational behavior, and strategy. By the time you finish your studies, you'll have a solid understanding of all of the major business functions. With less than 10% of the US population holding a graduate degree, you'll be in esteemed company once you finish. Alluring, isn't it?
Develop Your Leadership Skills
There are plenty of CEOs that hold MBAs. Current and former executives like Meg Whitman (eBay), Jamie Dimon (J.P. Morgan), Jeffrey Immelt (GE), Richard Fain (Royal Caribbean), and Edmund Pratt (Pfizer) all have MBAs. Some business school graduates have also pursued careers in politics, such as George Bush (President of the U.S.) and Michael Bloomberg (Mayor of New York). Many organizations value the leadership and problem solving skills that a business education confers.
Better Opportunities and Pay
The more you know, the more you'll get paid. It's that simple. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey, in the fourth quarter of 2010, advanced degree holders earned a median weekly income of $1,334 ($64,032 per year), approximately 30% more than those who had bachelor's degrees ($1,049 per week; $50,352 per year). These statistic lumps in all graduate degrees but you can be sure that MBA holders earn more. In fact, graduates of top business schools earn more than $100,000 in their first year out of school. Employers appreciate the depth of knowledge, intellectual horsepower, and dedication that's required to complete an MBA program. So if you're looking to stuff some greenbacks in your wallet, business school is a compelling choice.
Access Careers that Require an MBA
Besides unlocking higher earnings potential, an MBA will grant you access to careers that are traditionally off limits to those without a business school education. Private equity, investment banking, and management consulting are all examples of industries that heavily recruit MBAs. While it is possible to pursue a career with these organizations without an MBA, it is the exception, not the rule.
Change Your Career Path
Don't like your career? An MBA can act as a handbrake in making a U-turn in your professional life. In fact, the majority of business school students are career switchers! The combination of a broad business curriculum and a summer internship where you can gain work experience in a new field will facilitate your transition to a new industry, function, or both. Remember, it's never too late to go back to school and turn your life around!
Develop Your Network
Attending business school is like participating in a big networking event. One of the central value propositions of an MBA is the opportunity to cultivate a rolodex of business relationships that you can call on in the future. Need capital for a start-up five years from now? No problem, call your former classmate who now works at a venture capital firm. Need to find a reputable supplier for your company? Solicit advice from your classmate who works at a competitor. You get the idea.
Wait Out A "Bad Economy"
A university can be a sanctuary during times of economic crisis. If you enroll during a recession, you'll avoid the brunt of the downturn and (hopefully) return to a healthier job market. However, don't think that you're alone in this thinking. It's not uncommon for the number of business school applications to jump by 15-30% during periods of recession, making it more competitive to get admitted.
Defer Student Loans
Higher education is expensive. Really expensive. Unless the United States goes the way of Europe and subsidizes its education system, five-digit tuition rates are here to stay. But there is one (small) consolation. If you incurred government student loans to pay for your undergraduate education, you can often defer them during business school. That means no payments of principal or interest while you're enrolled -- zilch! So, while it's not as exciting as loan forgiveness, you can put off worrying about making payments for a while.
Machiavelli once said that "the ends justify the means". We would also submit to you that the "means", or the process of getting to your goal, can be rewarding in itself. So if you thrive on the intellectual environment that characterizes academia, that may be all the reason you need to apply. More often than not, you'll be hard pressed to find another environment that pursues intellectual quality to the same degree as an academic community.
Postpone the "Real World"
Seriously, who wants to work in a cubicle for twelve hours a day? While the benefits of a high powered career are welcome, it's nice to take a break. This shouldn't be your primary reason for applying to business school, but it's a legitimate factor in a lot of peoples' thinking. When asking yourself, "Why business school?", remember that the real world is a cold and unforgiving place, and a shiny white ivory tower is an appealing way to take refuge temporarily.