It’s Never Too Late To Go Back For Your MBA

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Earning an MBA can be a career booster for all types of people, no matter what their background is or where they are on the career ladder. People with many years of experience or those who have owned their own companies for decades can benefit from additional business education.

The online MBA program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers working professionals the opportunity to develop business management skills that can help them get ahead without taking time away from their careers and family life. Classes are 100 percent online and can provide the critical thinking, analytical skills, and business acumen needed to succeed in an executive role.

Man graduating online MBA program with diploma.

Meet Your Classmates

Online MBA programs are a popular graduate degree option for those with professional experience, and one that may pay off in terms of salary and connections after graduation.

Online MBA students tend to be more experienced than their classroom counterparts. The average age of people starting an online MBA program between June 2015 and June 2016 was 33, according to “The Average Online MBA Student” in U.S. News & World Report. By contrast, traditional on-campus MBA entrants in fall 2016 were 27, on average.

The report also noted that 89 percent of students entering an online MBA program had an average of eight years prior work experience.

Differences In Pay

MBA holders may enjoy a considerable return on their business school investment, and a higher salary is at the top of the list.

Full-time MBA students can expect to make fifty percent more than their pre-MBA starting pay, according to a study conducted by Forbes Magazine. Part-time MBA students can expect a forty-one percent increase in starting pay. The increases have held steady since the mid-1990s and include graduates who are mid-career or higher, according to the study.

Five years after graduation, the difference is even greater. Graduates of full-time MBA programs earn, on average, eighty percent more than they did before they received their degrees. In other words, someone making $75,000 a year before earning an MBA could expect a salary of about $135,000 after receiving a degree and spending five years on the job. For part-time MBA graduates, the five-year post-MBA pay difference is fifty-six percent.

Such sizable increases in pay can make an MBA a good investment from a financial standpoint.

Transferable Skills

Aside from notable financial gains, an online MBA degree offers a variety of hard and soft skills graduates can use in industries as varied as finance, consulting, technology, healthcare, consumer goods, and the government and nonprofit sector. Hard skills include proficiencies such as math or accounting; soft skills take into account abilities such as self-confidence, mentoring, negotiation, and perceptiveness.

“The skills typically strengthened during an MBA – leadership, intellectual creativity, analysis and critical thinking, cross-cultural awareness, communication, even greater IT mastery – will serve you well as you find your way toward your ultimate career goal,” Stacy Blackman, an independent MBA admissions consultant, wrote in her U.S. News and World Report article, “4 Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Sense.”

A desire to change careers inspires an estimated two-thirds of MBA applicants, including former research chemist, Tony Downs.

Now a product manager and human resources consultant at Carnegie Mellon University, Downs spent years stubbornly hanging on to the career path he had chosen at 18. Growing increasingly miserable, he finally admitted that chemistry was not the right field for him. He enrolled in the MBA program at University College Dublin in Ireland, which helped him find the right niche for his interests and skills, which included advising on a sustainable management growth strategy and company culture.

Elevated Employment Rates and Opportunities

As markets become more crowded and competitive, an MBA can mean the difference between landing a coveted position or being passed over. Hiring managers look for candidates with a graduate business degree. Ninety-six percent of employers responding to a Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) poll agreed that hiring MBA recipients generates value for their companies.

The GMAC poll also noted that seventy-nine percent of employers expected to hire business school graduates in 2017. Among companies that offer business internships, sixty-six percent planned to offer them to MBA students in 2017. Of these companies, eighty-two percent planned to either maintain or increase their previous number of MBA internship openings.

Obtaining an MBA degree (or an EMBA) is often a prerequisite for moving up to an executive position. Many firms require their executives to have the degree and even companies that don’t make it an official condition of employment typically expect their executives to have one.

Companies such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan may hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees for entry-level jobs, but employees understand that rising into senior management means working for several years and then obtaining their MBA.

Networking Opportunities

The most valuable aspect of an MBA degree may be the connections students make, both with alumni and with each other. The networks they form in business school can affect how well they meet their professional goals after graduating.

“It’s all a big game,” Roderick Lewis, international relations director of the University Institute of Lisbon’s ISCTE Business School, said about networking in a Business Insider article, “and the people who understand this are the ones who do well.”

Students can expect to come into contact with successful professionals in a variety of industries, both as classmates and as part of the school’s alumni network. Exposure to diverse business practices, cultures, and points of view can be an invaluable resource, Lewis noted, and access to alumni can help new MBA grads realize their short- and long-term visions for the future.

A Good Investment

In a fluid and constantly changing business environment, an MBA degree is a worthwhile investment for any professional, especially those who already have a substantial resume. Whether mid-career or later, professionals who earn an MBA can expect higher salaries, wider employment opportunities, and stronger connections with their colleagues.

About the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Online MBA Degree Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online MBA program is offered 100 percent online with concentrations in finance, management information systems, marketing, and health services, as well as a general track. The online setting allows professionals to earn their MBA degrees while also maintaining a demanding work schedule. For more information, visit the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online MBA program website.

Student age
Career Benefits of an MBA
Four Times Pursuing an MBA Makes Sense
Life-Changing MBA Stories
Networking Opportunities