One of the toughest tasks that any society faces is separating fact from fiction. Word of mouth can carry so much sway in certain segments of society that what one person says, regardless of their level of certainty, can easily be interpreted as the truth by another. So it is with everything, including the truths behind something as basic as a college education. The Master of Business Administration is one of the most well-known graduate level degrees available, but it is also one of the most vaguely understood by the average Joe.
Each year thousands of business professionals must make a choice regarding the future of their career, and often the MBA is at the center of that decision. It is viewed by many in the world of business as a sure fire ticket to greater things. Before diving in head first with an application, start by separating the facts from fiction surrounding an MBA.
Not All Degrees Are Created Equal!
While an MBA can help you for effective leadership in today’s fast-paced business world, not all of the MBA degree programs out there are the same. When examining any MBA program, make sure the program is accredited by an accrediting body, such as The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes of these programs within a business school meet rigorous educational standards. ACBSP is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only business accrediting organization for all associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs.
A degree in an accredited MBA program can be the differentiator in today’s competitive job market, so be sure to ask questions about accreditation when talking to any college or university.
Meant for Wall Street
When most people hear of an MBA they immediately think of Wall Street, high finance, and Fortune 500 companies. While this is based partially upon facts, there is also a lot of fiction at work here. Yes, many Chief Executive Officers and other high level executives have an MBA in hand but Wall Street is not the only place for an MBA graduate to go.
According to Monster.com, the MBA is starting to open doors for graduates in non-traditional career fields in the 21st century. Among the most popular are executive positions within healthcare and nonprofit organizations. Parallels between the for-profit and nonprofit world make it easy for business professionals to succeed in the latter field. Nonprofits are still focused on customer service and revenues just like counterparts in the for-profit industry. As for healthcare, the administration of this industry has become so complex in recent years that MBA graduates are viewed as ideal because they have the quantitative and analytical skills needed to understand the complexities of the healthcare industry.
Higher Wage Potential
Again, this point is both fact and fiction regarding an MBA. Graduating from an MBA program may indeed provide a significant boost to an individual’s wages, but there are caveats to that fact. Monster.com points out that a number of pre-existing variables will play an even greater role in future salary boosts than the MBA itself. An individual’s pre-existing salary, work experience, and where an individual works will all play into their final pay bump as a result of earning an MBA.
For example, individuals attending part-time MBA programs are often employed in upper level management with high wages. This means the bump they see from earning an MBA will be less than someone working outside management who is moved into that field as a result of earning an MBA.
One Way to Earn an MBA
This one is complete fiction. As technology advances, so too do the methods for delivering educational material. With the rapid expansion of the Internet and mobile technology in the 21st century, a number of new ways to earn the MBA have come into existence. Other methods have existed for years but managed to fly under the radar.
In addition to a traditional full-time program that lasts two years, there are several other programs available for those interested in an MBA. These include:
- Weekend MBA: Tailored for executives returning to school, weekend MBA programs can consist of one weekend a month in class with coursework completed online in between classroom meetings.
- Online MBA: Designed for anyone looking to earn an MBA, online programs are completed without ever attending campus classes in most cases. Coursework is completed at the individual’s pace through means such as online chat groups and discussion forms.
- Part-time MBA: Those who cannot leave their career to attend full-time can always enroll in a part-time MBA. The pace of these programs is generally slower, taking three to four years to complete, and can be done both on-campus or online.
Meant for Cut-Throats
Due to its association with Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies, many individuals might assume that MBA programs are designed to benefit only those with a cut-throat mentality. According to Monster.com there has been a rise in recent years for MBA programs that produce more ethically grounded graduates.
MBA programs are cropping up that have a greater emphasis on business ethics in their coursework, as well as courses designed to teach students more about corporate social and environmental responsibility.