By Jordan Perras
I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that “grad school” implies medical school or law school. Most students don’t have business school on their radars yet, which is understandable since almost all programs require post-grad work experience to qualify for admission. However, understanding why to get an MBA will help you make smart, calculated decisions about your career even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do yet.
As the Baby Boomer generation retires, an unprecedented amount of leadership roles are being vacated. Who will replace them? The people at the top of the list will most likely be Millennials, especially because we’ll make up almost half of the workforce by 2020. That means that a huge percentage of your competition for promotions will be other people your age.
One of the most powerful ways of showing that you’re prepared for the challenge of helping to lead a firm is by continuing your education and earning an MBA. An MBA is an internationally recognized identifier that shows your commitment to lifelong learning and personal development. If you’re ever up for a promotion, having an advanced degree shows credibility and strengthens the case for your promotion by eliminating the argument that you’re too inexperienced or young.
Employers understand that an MBA program affords you a comprehensive understanding of many aspects of running a business and prepares you for leadership roles. MBA programs help you strengthen your problem solving, time management, and leadership skills. Most schools have requirements for global experiences that help increase your cultural and global awareness while helping you gain an international network of professionals.
Something else to keep in mind is that the average amount of time that a Millennial stays at one company is two years. That’s half the time it takes an average student to finish their undergraduate degree! The network of other MBAs that you meet at business school is another asset that you will (statistically) draw on as you navigate changing employers.
On a personal note, I was lucky to be raised by two parents committed to education, and my mom earned both a Bachelor’s of Finance and an MBA. Through the stories she has shared of her experiences, I’ve realized that having a solid educational background makes it much easier to be a woman in a male-dominated field. While Finance has come a long way from where it used to be, women are still underrepresented in business schools, C-Suites and leadership roles across firms throughout the country.
Even if you still aren’t sure whether or not an MBA is for you, there are some steps you can take in college to make the decision easier down the road. Do some research about business schools. What are their average GPAs and GMAT scores? What have their alumni gone on to do? Where do they work? How much money do they make?
Check out some GMAT study courses like Forté’s preparatory resources. If you have space in your schedule, take a few quantitative courses like Economics or Intro to Finance to make the quantitative section of the GMAT easier.
Think about taking the GMAT during your senior year, and keep in mind that your score will keep for up to five years. This has the added benefit of eliminating a situation where you’re working full-time and trying to study on top of that.
Anything I missed? Comment below or tweet at @fortefoundation or @perras_jordan!
Jordan Perras is a third-year student at Northeastern University majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics. She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.