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Shooting for an MBA when you already have a job

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Q: “I’m planning to enroll in an MBA program that allows me to continue working while attending school. However, I’m beginning to wonder whether this degree will be worth the effort.

“After putting so much time and money into my education, I would hope for some sort of financial reward, but my company does not give pay increases for master’s degrees. I would be willing to change jobs or relocate if it meant that my degree would be recognized. How beneficial is an MBA?” Working Student

A: I think you can safely assume that having an MBA will strengthen your résumé and expand your career options. Even if you receive no immediate compensation bump, the odds of an eventual financial payoff are quite good. Several studies have found that MBA grads tend to earn more than their lesser-degreed counterparts.

Although you have been focusing on the end result, you should also consider the value of the process. In addition to getting a “ticket,” you will acquire extensive business knowledge that can increase your effectiveness in almost any job. By the time you finish school, you may be amazed at how your perspective has changed.

As an added benefit, interaction with people from various backgrounds will acquaint you with a variety of industries and corporate cultures. Your fellow students can become valuable networking contacts, possibly facilitating future career opportunities. Many graduates have said they gained as much from their classmates as they did from their classes.

If you still have lingering doubts, consider contacting some alumni to ask about their experience. I’m betting that anyone who finished the program will feel that the benefits far outweighed the costs.

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