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How do you know if graduate business school is the right step in your career?

I'm considering applying to deferred enrollment programs but am still trying to figure out what kind of role business school would play in my career vs. continuing at a company I'm working for.

JULY20 graduateschool business school career

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Subject: Career question for you

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Stacey’s Answer

Hi Belinda, if you are interested in one day being in a leadership position then business school is definitely something to consider. What you learn in a MBA program will help you navigate any business. It will give you the tools you need to understand the drivers of your business/industry and help you make more informed decisions. However, if you are more interested in becoming a specialist in your field then pursuing a different Masters might be better for you. For example a Masters in data science would be valuable if you are in a data/analyst role and you want to be a specialist. In either case, definitely look to see if your company has a program to help pay for your graduate school. If you can balance working and going to school in the evenings and have your company pay for it, not only does that help on your own financial security, it tells the company that you are serious about investing in yourself, making you a more valuable asset.
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Andrew’s Answer

Hello Belinda,
A graduate degree can help you in a few aspects of your career development.
1. A graduate degree can teach you valuable lessons that you are now able to compare with real world experiences now that you have been in the work force, versus your undergrad where most lessons taught are theoretical, as you haven't had a "real" job.
2. A MBA or other advanced degree can set you and your resume apart from other candidates when vying for a position. This shows that you value your own education and development and can really stand out. Also, companies may be willing to consider a candidate with slightly less experience when they have a masters degree.
3. This is speaking from personal experience, but a graduate program can be a great place to network. My program was very specific to what I wanted to do in my career, and I made several valuable connections among the professors and peers in my cohort.
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Lesly’s Answer

As I've looked at leadership in the companies I've worked for, one of the consistent skill sets the most successful leaders have is a strong business/financial background. No matter what you do in your career having a strong business understanding will serve you well. My business background has helped me assess risk and make smart choices over my career. Even more important - it's allowed me to give back to others by helping launch businesses, teach basic bookkeeping, or work with non-profits.

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Cynthia’s Answer

It will really depend on what you're interested in based on careers you've learned about or heard about, or even various positions in your current company that seem like an area you would like to learn more about by asking people in various roles. Depending on the company and role, having a degree is (more likely than not) a minimum requirement today. Here is also a starting place to start learning about general/broad careers aligned to Business degrees: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/best-jobs-for-business-majors-2059628
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John’s Answer

As a Mechanical Engineer my position turned to project and program management. It became obvious that I needed to know more about business, costs, overhead, etc., so I pursued a Masters in Business while working full time. Eventually this helped me get Management positions and even a President position in a company. This degree has been very helpful in understanding how businesses operate, why managers and businesses have certain goals.
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