Skip to main content
16 answers
19
Asked 347 views Translate

Should I take a break, or drive right into my MBA program?

I would like to earn a MBA after earning my bachelor's. Should I immediately enter the MBA program after graduating, or should I wait and get a job with only my bachelor's degree?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

19

16 answers


5
Updated Translate

Molly’s Answer

I would say it varies on the person, degree, and job. I know countless people that went directly into an MBA program directly after they finished their bachelor's and I also know numerous people who waited years to go back. Personally I am still finishing my bachelor's and I will not be going to get my MBA right away for a few reasons.

One of the coolest things about your career is you can take it a million different directions no matter what your degree is in. You have complete control over your career and can drive it in many different directions. I work for Cisco Systems and there are people who work in HR with engineering degrees, there are people with psychology degrees working in technical roles, and there are some people with teaching degrees now working in sales. The crazy thing about life is we continue to evolve and grow and that applies to our careers too.

My advice with this topic is to wait a few years and gain some experience in your role. Give yourself time to learn if you truly enjoy your job or if you really hate it. You gain experience and connections and that is what helps you get jobs, not what your degree is actually in. But as I mentioned before, this is all dependent on what type of degree you are trying to get.

You never know if you'll want to go back and get your MBA in a different subject then your bachelor's degree and you may be lucky and work somewhere that'll pay for you to do so. I think waiting is the best way to get a feel for the job and gain the experience needed to really know if you want to get your MBA in the same subject.
Thank you comment icon Rock-awesome answer! Thank you!! Genevieve
5
2
Updated Translate

Talha’s Answer

Hey Genevieve, I personally had 5 years of experience before I went for my MBA, so my answer may be biased - but here are some reasons I can think of for getting some work experience before getting an MBA degree

1. Career Pivots: The MBA is often a good way to accelerate your career or pivot to a new industry or pivot to a new role within the same industry. This is why it is valuable to get a few years of experience, because that will help you decide if you want to pivot - and if you do, the MBA will be a good route to do it

2. Difference between academics vs professional life: Once you get into the professional world, you will realize it is very different from academics. If getting into the industry is your goal ultimately, it is very valuable to get some professional experience as you will learn about the following things (e.g. how to recruit for jobs, what career paths exist in your industry of choice, does the 9-5 lifestyle suit you or you prefer more flexibility, how do you deliver against professional goals/deadlines and amplify your work within an organization, do you want to work for a small company or a larger company would suit you better --- and many more)

3. Cost and ROI: The MBA can be a very expensive investment. If you are targeting the top schools you could end up spending >$150k-$200k over a two year program. Having a job for a few years can help you save money for doing an MBA and it will also make your ROI clearer.

4. Networking: There are a ton of opportunities within an MBA program from the get go where you can network with other professionals to land a new job or start a company etc. In fact having a robust professional network is one of the key benefits of doing the MBA. You'd be able to take better advantage of these opportunities if you have some sense of what you want to do - and having some experience helps rule out things you don't want to do.

Talha recommends the following next steps:

Do 1-1 chats with people who did MBA straight after undergrad (or those who waited a few years) and ask them if they would change their choice and why?
Write down your list of reasons of why you want to do an MBA and how it would help you achieve your career goals? Can you achieve your career goals without an MBA?
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the suggestions Talha!! Genevieve
2
2
Updated Translate

Jaquelyne’s Answer

It depends on your emphasis. However, I would wait and try to get experience and then go back to get your MBA. It gives you time to see if that is really what you want to do and also gives you time to have some experience and get more out of the program. Also, there are companies that will help pay for your MBA which can be a great benefit!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for reaching out Jaquelyne! Genevieve
Thank you comment icon Totally agree with this answer. Getting experience will help you focus on what you really want to do and what you definitely do not want. I got my bachelors first, then got some experience and then the MBA. Classes at the MBA level base a lot of the conversations and work around experiences with companies. Plus, the potential to get it covered by your employer. Angel Vizcarra
2
2
Updated Translate

Stephanie’s Answer

Hi Genevieve-

I am in your same situation too. I am graduating with my undergrad next year and trying to decide if I should get a graduate degree. At this time, I have decided to postpone getting my Master's for a few years. The main reason I have decided this is because I want to find a company that will pay for my graduate schooling. A lot of companies offer tuition reimbursement as a benefit. The company I am interning for this summer offers up to $10,000 a year towards a graduate degree. I want to be able to take advantage of this benefit and not go into more school debt.
Thank you comment icon Really good point! One of my managers had her company pay for her master's. I'll definitely be taking that into consideration! Thank you! Genevieve
2
1
Updated Translate

Natnael’s Answer

Genevieve great question. Most MBA programs are designed for someone with at least 2 years of working experience. I think you would get more value out of the MBA experience If you went ahead and did jobs for few years. Preferably 2-4 years then matriculating in an MBA program. The MBA is also designed for networking and catapulting your career to executive leadership level. I think going straight to an MBA from Bachelors will be in almost 99% of cases a mistake. If you already have started a business, or have extensive work experience, did ventures etc then You will be in the 1%.

If you felt like you graduated with a non-business degree and needed a technical one. I think an MS (Master of Science) degree in Finance, accounting, analytics etc … will be the better bet. Maybe the best way to do it will be apply to a 2+2 MBA program. Usually, you apply to this MBA program as a deferred applicant. You will apply in Junior/senior year. Then get accepted. Go find a Job. Work for two years then start your MBA journey. Good Luck! :)
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Natnael! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. I am glad to hear that you would like to continue to study MBA.
I could share my personal experience. In the MBA course, it is constructed with many business case studies, projects , sharing from brilliant business leaders. The time on instructors led lectures is not as significant as in the undergraduate course.
You would not have the maximum benefit if you do not have real life working experience in a business environment. On the other hand, you cannot have the insight on what the business leaders and classmates to share.
I would suggest you can study the MBA course after a few years working experience. You can consider to do it in part time mode if you would like to continue your work.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
Thank you comment icon Awesome! Thanks! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Joshua’s Answer

Having taken a break in-between undergrad and graduate school I would highly recommend it. It really gives you time to organize your thoughts and see if it is really what you want to do. It also helps with burnout from undergrad. With that break that I took I have been able to do better than ever in my grad program grade wise as well as land internships and such.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
Thank you comment icon I totally agree with Joshua based on my personal experience. I worked for 8 years after undergrad before beginning grad school and I'm so happy I did! I have a much better sense of how I want to spend my time (like what courses I want to take) and have experiences that make for valuable classroom contributions. Also, having some time between educational experiences gave me an opportunity to reflect on my habits in college and figure out what I wanted to do differently in my graduate studies. I'm able to go about graduate school with more purpose than I would have if I had gone right away after undergrad. Kristin Battaglini
Thank you comment icon Thanks for sharing your insight Kristin!! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Ayush’s Answer

Well I have met both types of people in my MBA program at CMU. Each path has its pros and cons -

If you enter directly after undergrad, your selection of schools is limited and you may not able able to contribute much to the class discussions. Also, you may feel the imposter syndrome strongly which can show up in interviews during recruiting as you will lack enough STAR stories.
Coming to pros, you are eligible for most jobs that are available to people with years of work experience, so you will be ahead of them in terms of career progression. Also, you are much more flexible to take on riskier jobs as you may not have other family related commitments as you are younger.

If you wait a few years, then you would have made connections in the industry which you can leverage post your MBA. Also, you would have realized the fields/functions that interest you (or at least the ones you don't like). Also you would have many more options in selecting the schools as you would have demonstrated success at the workplace. The obvious con being that you start a bit late and may not be able to take on the aforementioned riskier jobs.

So both paths have their pros and cons. You need to see which one suits you!

Ayush recommends the following next steps:

Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Piper’s Answer

Pros and cons to both. It depends! (classic MBA answer)

I went right from undergrad to my MBA. I felt like doing so kept me in the school mindset. It allowed me to be better prepared compared to my peers who had been out of school for years in terms of being used to studying, learning a variety of subjects at once, and more generally "doing school."

If you do want to go right from undergrad to grad school, consider gaining some internship or co-op experience in a business-related or corporate function. It will help provide some of the real-world business experience that will get you up to speed compared to your peers.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Shelby M.’s Answer

I would recommend diving right into your Masters! Often times the break (while much needed ) can cause a students focus to veer off tract simply due to life events etc . Go after it and go get it ! You can do it !
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the answer and the encouragement! :-) Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

James’s Answer

That depends on the individual to take a break or drive on. It also may be good for the individual that taking a break to gain some experience is also helpful. Doing so will also afford you the insight in deciding if your chosen field is something you want to continue to advance in or move on to something else.
Thank you comment icon Good point, thank you! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Maria’s Answer

Hi,

MBA are overrated. Most people think that MBA are a booster in their careers. However, I have another perspective about it. During my career, I have found that what it is important is to gain experience and be knowledgeable. My advice would be to find a job first. Give you the opportunity to try different job areas or roles that allow you to set new skills and also discover your strengths and weaknesses. After that, you will be ready to take advantage of this knowledge and start your MBA. It is here when it becomes a booster as you will start building connections and based on the previous learnings in your career, you will be more secure about your next step in your career should be.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Shweta’s Answer

I would suggest you to have some work experience before MBA. Work experience prior to an MBA provides the student with a platform to build on during their studies. Students benefit from being able to refer to their own experience during classroom discussions and apply management theory to their existing practical knowledge.

Hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Good point, thanks!! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Pranith’s Answer

I completed my bachelor's in 2017 and I was in a similar dilemma back then. But, finally I chose to wait for a few years and then do my MBA. That decision was very rewarding because:
1. You might find what you like/what you are good at: Working for a company is completely different from learning at school. When you start working you learn taking ownership, prioritizing work, understanding other colleagues, learning how things work in the actually world, and also how to make sure you stand out. While going thru all this, there are high chances that we will find out what we actually like and what we are actually good at. So, it will help one to know which career path is good for them and whether doing an MBA even makes sense or not.

2. Having a real world work experience always makes MBA experience more enriching - the case studies, the people who meet, the conversations you have, the perspective you build, will all be more enriching with a work experience. You can relate to things better. The experience and perspective you bring in will also enrich the class.
Thank you comment icon Excellent point! Thanks for sharing your perspective!! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Matt’s Answer

As many of the posts here mention it really depends on your specific situation.

However, in my experience if there are no other contributing factors - do it right after or now. This is something that can never be taken away from you.

When you get your undergrad, you are used to the learning, the material, the way each subject builds on others, the open mind, the routines, the studying, the homework, the bus schedules, the time away, etc. This may seem natural to you, but takes a little getting used to again if you go back to school later. No other time may be more perfect in your life.

Another option is to not go so extreme of one or the other. Perhaps you can get a part time / internship job in the field that allows you to go to school on days off, or night school. This would ensure that you are getting experience (and funding) needed while relating the material to your work. Then, when get your MBA you will not only have the education and knowledge, but the experience to compliment what you have learned. I worked full time in the city during the day and walked over to school after work. I did this for my undergrad and grad work. I was fortunate as it allowed me to afford the tuition and use what I was learning at my job. It made for long days but was worth it!

Again, all up to you - Good luck !
Thank you comment icon Thanks for taking the time to answer my question! Genevieve
1
1
Updated Translate

Patrick’s Answer

I think an MBA is distinct in many ways from other Masters degrees, and I would personally put it pretty bluntly: I can think of almost no scenario where you should begin an MBA immediately after graduating from undergrad. A lot of masters degrees can be great to get right after graduating undergrad, but an MBA is not one of them.

The primary reason for this is that, perhaps more than any other masters (though that may be an overgeneralization), the value of an MBA is almost entirely dependent on which school you get it from, rather than coming from having an MBA in general. Most of the best business schools will not consider a candidate without at least a few years of work experience (at my program 4-6 years was the most common). MBAs are expensive and to get a good enough ROI for how much it will cost you want to go to the best one you can get into. You will almost certainly be able to get into a better school, and therefore get more return for going, after a few years of work experience than if you go right after undergrad. Additionally, this will make it a lot easier for you to go into your MBA with a plan for what you want to do with it, since you'll have some experience to go off.

I'm sure there are specific circumstances where I'm wrong but I'm quite confident that in the vast majority of cases getting an MBA immediately after undergrad would be a bad investment.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Genevieve
1