Any number of circumstances may have sparked your interest in pursuing an MBA. Perhaps it’s that promotion you got passed up for, a burning desire to change careers, the great resignation or a natural next step in your education.
Although the paths that lead to an MBA are varied, the decision on whether to commit to earning one often comes down to one question: Is it worth it? Although only you can ultimately know the answer, a global study by the Graduate Management Admissions Council may shed some light. Of the more than 3,600 MBA graduates surveyed, 70 per cent reported their business school experience helped them achieve personal and financial goals. About two-thirds reported they advanced at least one job level after obtaining the degree.
It’s clear an MBA can open new doors and accelerate your career—no small feat in today’s competitive job market. But it’s important to recognize the value of an MBA is more than classroom learning. How you navigate your whole business school experience is instrumental to your post-graduate success.
Choose the right specialization
It helps to clarify your professional aspirations at the outset of your MBA experience to ensure you choose a specialization that aligns with your interests. The Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton offers nine streams so that MBA students can tailor their education to their career goals.
“Whether their passion lies in human resources, business analytics, social enterprise leadership or another field, specializing will make them more attractive to employers in that industry,” says Michael Hobeck, dean of academics at the University of Fredericton.
Consider in-program job placements
Many MBA programs include experiential and practical components for a robust learning experience that ensures students develop confidence in their ability to apply in-class learning. At Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, students in the full-time program complete a full semester of placement with a partner corporation of their choice.
“Past partner companies have included Ontario Securities Commission, Saint John Sea Dogs, SickKids Hospital and Innocean Worldwide Canada,” says Odette School of Business MBA program director Dr. Bharat Maheshwari. More than three-quarters of their students receive job offers through the program.
For online MBA programs such as those offered at the University of Fredericton, students typically continue working full-time through their studies. A key benefit is they can apply what they learn in real time.
Open doors to powerful career connections
Even candidates with the dream skill set can struggle to land the ideal job if they don’t have a solid professional network. An MBA program offers unprecedented exposure to Canada’s top employers through dedicated career services, alum mentorship programs and placement opportunities, thus increasing the likelihood of a job offer in hand alongside your graduate degree.
“The Odette School of Business has a dedicated team of career advisors who provide interview, resumé, cover letter and job-search assistance to students as part of the program,” says Maheshwari.
Most MBA programs encourage and facilitate online and in-person networking and professional growth before and after graduation. University of Fredericton’s online platform includes alumni directories, a jobs board and a dedicated LinkedIn group. “This empowers them to exchange relevant updates, seek valuable professional guidance and draw upon the potential of networking for their career advancement,” says Hobeck.
The decision to invest in an MBA education is a challenging one. When weighing the value of your investment against its potential return, it helps to remember the entire experience a program offers and what positive effects it may have on your career long after commencement.