After a few years of declining numbers, MBA programs are increasing in number of students again. In 2020, 67% of business schools reported a higher number of applications than they had just the year before, according to MBA.com. Of the survey’s respondents, 35% indicated that their application numbers were up “significantly” over 2019. An increasing number of students are thinking about getting an MBA degree, making this a good time to look at some common MBA myths.
From the cost to the type of student, MBA myths have been around as long as business schools have been around. Sadly, these misconceptions can prevent some well-qualified students from pursuing this degree program. Understanding the truth about the MBA is vital to protecting a student’s well-being in the future.
At Post University, our flexible MBA program, with both online and campus-based educational opportunities, makes going back to business school easier than ever. But before you apply for the program, make sure you understand the truth about common misconceptions regarding earning an MBA.
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1. You Should Have a Business Background to Enroll in an MBA
If you studied something other than business in your undergraduate program, don’t assume that your chances of getting into business school are too small to make it worth pursuing. The truth is, while the main prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree, the type of degree often doesn’t matter.
Today’s MBA programs are often available to people with any undergrad degree or work experience. MBA programs provide foundational training in basic business areas, and they also develop skills students need to achieve higher-level positions within their communities. This means students who want to make a career shift and start focusing on business rather than another field can use the MBA to get there. In addition, entrepreneurial-minded individuals with an undergrad that is not in business can pursue an MBA, then put that business training together with their undergrad in their niche field to create a successful business.
Bottom line? It doesn’t matter if your undergrad was in music, education, science, or even general studies. If you want to pursue an MBA, you can. The basic business training you need to succeed is part of your MBA experience.
2. MBA Programs Are Too Expensive
An MBA at a highly prestigious school can easily cost $100,000 or more, but many schools are offering MBA programs that are more affordable than that. Hybrid degree programs offer flexibility and affordability that can help cut the costs of an MBA program. Many smaller schools are developing MBA programs that compete with Ivy League institutions to provide a more affordable educational experience.
In addition, employers understand the benefits of additional business training for their team members, and as such, they often provide tuition reimbursement programs to make the MBA more affordable. With employer-backed training, some MBA students wind up paying comparatively little for their graduate program.
Accelerated programs can cut the cost, as well, by limiting the program to one year instead of two or three. Although these programs are quite intense, they provide a good business foundation at a fraction of the cost for those willing to put in the effort.
When considering the cost of an MBA, you should also consider the return on your investment. According to US News and World Report, a professional with an MBA earns an average salary of $106,757 a year. That’s significantly higher than the salary earned by the average business professional. This higher income potential means the cost of an MBA is much more attainable. In 2020 the average starting salary projections for MBA graduates was $20,000 more than non-MBA students based on data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
3. Only People Who Manage Others Need an MBA
Many people assume that the MBA is designed for those who have their sights set on management or leadership roles. This is a misconception that prevents people from benefiting from MBA training in other areas of business.
While it is true that many who pursue an MBA will end up in management positions, not all will. The degree is actually highly versatile with a large number of concentrations that can fit into just about any career path.
For example, students can pursue an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship if they wish to start their own business someday. Others could pursue a focus on finance to enter accounting and bookkeeping roles. There are even MBA programs with an emphasis on healthcare systems to assist those who want to rise to leadership in the medical system. Marketing is another respected concentration that does not always lead to management positions but can make the graduate highly appealing to potential employers.
Regardless of the concentration chosen, students gain valuable critical thinking skills and business knowledge in an MBA program, and employers know this. Having an MBA gives a leg up when applying for many positions, and not just those in business management or leadership.
4. Online MBA Programs Lack Credibility
If you are considering investing in an MBA program, you definitely want to know that your future employers will recognize and accept your degree. Many wonder if an online Master of Business Administration program will be accepted as credible and effective to their future employers.
According to US News, today’s employers are recognizing the value of online MBA programs and their effectiveness at teaching business concepts. A key seems to be the quality of the school offering the program. When it comes from a credible school, it is deemed credible. A programmatic accreditation can help to know if it is a quality program. There are online programs from unknown schools that may lack credibility, but students can be confident if they pursue an MBA from a school with a solid reputation. In fact, many employers will not look at the format of the degree, just the school it came from.
5. Online MBA Programs Are Easier than Campus-Based
Online and hybrid programs are more flexible and streamlined than campus-based programs, but the rigor and knowledge they provide is still strong. In fact, online platforms are often more challenging than on-campus programs. Not only do they cover just as much material in a shorter time frame—requiring more diligent study—but learning online requires more self-discipline and self-motivation than studying in a classroom surrounded by other students. The flexibility and faster pace are a perk for online students, but these programs do not sacrifice the quality of the education on the altar of convenience.
Online and hybrid MBA programs can provide an affordable option to help students achieve an MBA. According to Forbes, students are flocking to these programs because of their flexibility, as they don’t have to quit their jobs to embrace MBA training with these flexible options. They can complete many assignments no matter where their work takes them. Online programs also tend to be accelerated, requiring fewer years of commitment before they are completed. Even with this streamlined, more flexible format, online MBA programs are quite successful and do not make sacrifices in educational quality.
In the same Forbes article, graduates from two different online MBA programs reported their pay increased after graduation. In the report, the average salary increase after completing an online MBA program was 29%. In one school, 76% of online MBA grads received promotions or new job options even while still in the program. And in a survey from PoetsandQuants of MBA grads, online students gave their programs an average of 9.22 out of 10. Graduates are highly satisfied with the quality of their education in most of these programs.
With reports like these, the quality of an online degree program is clear. Students who need that flexibility can get it by studying online and still receive a valuable education that puts them in a competitive position for future job applications.
6. Male Students Dominate MBA Programs
Traditionally, the MBA was dominated by men. Was.
Over the past 10 years, that trend has shifted. Interestingly, CNBC.com reports that while the number of MBA students overall trended downward in recent years, the percentage of women in these programs quickly trended up. In fact, women made up 39% of the MBA student body. And in some schools, this percent is much higher. In 2019 there were at least 19 schools that had 40% or more of their MBA students that were female, including several prestigious universities.
To put that into perspective, not one business school achieved that metric as recently as 2005.
And the numbers continue to rise. In 2019, the Graduate Management Admission Council reported that a record-high 47.1% of GMAT exams were taken by women. Many of these GMAT exam takers went on to enroll in MBA programs, increasing the numbers even more.
7. Your Application Needs to be Perfect
One of the most damaging misconceptions about getting an MBA is this: Many students feel they need a perfect GPA and a high score on the GMAT to qualify. But putting together a perfect application can feel unattainable, discouraging many from even trying to apply for business school.
If you have been putting off applying for an MBA program because you feel your application needs to be perfect, you are missing out. Yes, many programs are competitive with their admissions criteria, but not all. You will find that there are key components that matter, and others that are less important.
According to US News, the application is considered as a whole. Schools want to look at multiple pieces to pull out the best possible candidates. While the GMAT score and GPA and undergraduate degree are all considered, none of these is the end-all for your application.
In fact, the personal essay may be one of the most important parts. This gives you the chance to show yourself and account for any low scores in your application. Schools and admissions professionals understand that no applicant will be perfect, and they want to see how you handle any weaknesses on your application. Acknowledging weaknesses and incorporating them into your application, often through the personal essay, shows that you have good self-understanding. Lower scores on the GMAT and lower GPA ratings combined with a solid essay that explains your strengths and weaknesses may be more appealing than a “perfect” application with a weaker essay.
With the rise of online and hybrid programs, getting into an MBA program is more attainable than ever before. More and more people, including an increasing number of women, are taking advantage of these opportunities and exploring additional training through business school.
If you are looking for a flexible MBA program, Post University has you covered. Available both on-campus and online, the Post University MBA will put you ahead of the competition. It takes a project-based approach to business training that is also multi-faceted, covering technology, finance, marketing, and more. Choose from multiple areas of concentration to fine-tune your business education. Reach out to an admissions counselor today to learn more about the Post University MBA Program.
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