As the CEO at the Acton School of Business, I talk to a lot of people who are thinking through whether an MBA is the right next move. For some, the pursuit of an MBA seems more of a sabbatical from the real world; for others, a deep dive in learning the skills required to do something extraordinary.
Only you can answer the questions “should I get an MBA?” or “which MBA should I choose?” There are, however, some critical questions I recommend asking yourself before deciding to make the leap for an MBA.
Foundational questions every MBA candidate should be asking themselves:
- What’s my end-goal?
Why am I going to get an MBA? Am I going to get a raise at my job, a promotion, or do I want to fundamentally change the way I look at the world, and believe that this shift will help me carve the new path I’ve been searching for?
- What skills am I looking for?
Which MBA programs are most suited to provide these skills?
- How can an MBA help me figure out what I’m passionate about?
Which MBA programs are better at doing this, and actually have a track record of helping people find their calling?
- Who are the teachers?
Does it matter if the teachers have business experience, or is it ok if they’re academics
- What’s the true cost…hard costs AND opportunity costs?
A few hard hitters…
- Am I really looking for specific skills, or am I just looking for a credential?
Be careful here, the three letters “MBA” are becoming less and less valuable, especially as more people are getting MBA’s.
- Is the ‘idea’ of a big MBA network just a comfort mechanism?
Could you go out and make the connections on your own, without paying a huge financial price and an even larger opportunity cost?
- How could going back for an MBA negatively affect the relationships with my loved ones?
Depending upon your drive to learn and succeed, and the demands of the specific program you choose, your time with loved ones could become very limited. Make sure you have the conversation with yourself, and with your loved ones, before making the leap.
The mother of them all…
- If money wasn’t a concern, what would I do?
Ask yourself this question, over and over again, forever.
This last question may be the most important, and the most difficult to answer. Don’t let yourself off easy, dig in. You can probably find the funding and resources to follow almost any dream. It really comes down to how bad you want it, and what you’re willing to trade for the support.
Most MBA programs (not Acton) are going to cost you over $100,000, and require at least two years of your life, to finish. Be sure you clearly know ‘your’ purpose for going back to get an MBA.
Make a decision. If you’re striving to be a successful entrepreneur, financier, or business operator, you’re going to have to be able to make tough decisions, with conviction.