Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.
Q: I’m transitioning out in the next six months and I’m considering going back to school to earn my MBA. What are the benefits of an MBA over a bachelor’s degree?
A: That depends on your career path. Does your future career need an MBA? Do you have a targeted company from whom you hope to obtain a job? Does that company require an MBA for your desired position? The benefits of an MBA can be significant, especially if your undergraduate degree wasn’t in business. Learning about sales, marketing and profit/loss will be key skills to develop for any civilian manager-to-be. If this is a path you are considering, try to research some of the MBA schools’ names that were attended by individuals in your targeted position. What are those schools’ requirements for admission? Is your undergrad GPA in their range? What are the schools’ average GMAT or GRE scores for admitted students? Have you obtained or can you obtain that score? Can you afford the tuition and other school expenses? If you can satisfactorily answer these questions, an MBA may be the right choice for you.
But what are some alternatives? One key question to ask yourself is how sure are you of the civilian career choice that requires an MBA? Many military job seekers’ perceptions of what some careers constitute in the civilian world can be much different in practice. For that reason, it sometimes makes sense to work in the civilian world for a few years before considering MBA school (or any graduate degree for that matter). You may discover that your desired field requires no advanced degree, or perhaps a different civilian certification altogether.
In addition, many graduate schools offer an Executive MBA program that is specifically designed to meet the demands of those already in the workforce. Their classes are scheduled to accommodate your day job. Also, if you don’t necessarily need a full MBA degree but simply an overview of some of the areas covered by one (marketing, sales, finance), some well-regarded business schools offer MBA certificate programs where highly intensive classes last just a few days to a week. If you’ve just been promoted to a position with budgetary responsibility and you’ve never managed a budget previously, for instance, this can be a good alternative.
Mike Arsenault is Vice President of Candidate Services at military placement firm Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at email@example.com.
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