“Is business school right for me?”
It’s a question so many young professionals ask every year. Having achieved real success in the early innings of their careers, many people struggle to evaluate the impact an MBA might have on their career trajectory, especially relative to the substantial headline costs of many programs.
A Personal Journey
Business school, unlike law and medical school, is not a technical degree. Business encompasses such a wide variety of professions and functions, and the curriculum and overall experience reflects that unparalleled diversity. As such, the value of business school in advancing your career can accrue in many (and sometimes surprising) ways.
I personally experienced this during my MBA at Wharton. Although I initially intended to return to finance post-MBA, the vibrant entrepreneurial community and deep supporting resources allowed me to pursue my own startup, BeenThere, during school, which I’ve continued to build in hopes of helping others achieve their career goals, including admission to top MBA programs.
My journey wasn’t what I’d thought it would be, but it opened up opportunities beyond any I’d have been able to consider otherwise.
Finding Your Type
This narrative is different than many other MBAs, but the takeaway is similar – an MBA was a meaningful accelerant on their careers. Here’s a few common experiences:
- Breaking Into Business: For those with non-business backgrounds like government, education, and engineering, among others, business school is the ideal platform to build knowledge of business basics through robust curriculums, collaborate with knowledgeable classmates, and benefit from inbound job opportunities across the business world.
- Pivoting Sectors: Some career seekers have excelled in the past, but would like to see if other industries might be a fit. Business school is the ideal testing ground, allowing individuals to build their knowledge of new industries and deeply experiment through internships, course works, and extracurriculars.
- Accelerating Within Industry: Whether sponsored by a firm or just independently focused on their track, others may head to business school with the intent of staying in the same industry. Business school can serve to diversify their perspective by working alongside and networking with future leaders from a wide range of backgrounds, as well as further expanding the potential career opportunities available through on-campus recruiting, alumni access, and more.
Whether chasing a specific dream job, trying to climb your corporate ladder, or figuring out what’s next, an MBA can provide tremendous value in progressing your career. The best business school experiences deliver sharper business skills, a broader network of friends and potential contacts, and unprecedented personal growth.
The fun aspect – you might not be able to predict exactly how it happens.
Colin Keeler is founder and CEO of BeenThere, an advice marketplace connecting applicants with current MBA students for curated application and career advice. For questions on your career search or MBA application, schedule a free consultation, or search and connect with a mentor by creating a profile on www.beenthere.mba!