Mid-life career changers often consider returning to school. Here are 3 reasons why you might consider getting an MBA… and when you might consider doing something else.
(1) Supplementing skills in a field where you are already successful.
An MBA degree has become extremely popular as a second degree to supplement an existing specialty. For instance, nurses and doctors are seeking business knowledge in such large numbers that some universities have created special programs for them.
This option makes sense if you can use the knowledge immediately and you can pay for the program comfortably. If you are not self-employed, make sure your employer or the employment marketplace will reward your efforts.
(2) Using an MBA degree to find a new career in a totally different field.
“Nathan,” was employed by a firm that marketed business seminars. He wanted to work for a nonprofit firm that promoted green business. He couldn’t see how to make the leap so he thought, “Why not an MBA?”
Nathan needs to talk to at least 6 people who work in firms like the one he wants to join. He needs to target employees at sufficiently high levels in this firm, asking how they achieved their positions. He may find that firms in this field look for MBAs from specific schools, with specific majors and/or with specific experience.
Most important, if you choose an MBA for career change, make sure your program allows networking with other students. Once I taught a class in an Executive MBA program when one participant lost her job. Her resume landed on the desk of a classmate who recognized her and moved her application to the top of the pile.
(3) Using an MBA to get promoted within your own company.
“Susan” worked for a medium-sized company. She couldn’t understand why her promotions were blocked. Her bosses told her she needed marketing courses. When she completed her marketing courses, they said she needed finance…and maybe an MBA.
Susan needs to figure out if she really needs all this training or if her bosses are finding creative ways to turn her down, over and over again.
Generally you need to look at your company’s history. Sometimes an MBA from just about anywhere will give you a leg up the corporate ladder. But you have to think more broadly. Even with an MBA, you are not protected from company politics and downsizing. Consider what you would do if you had to take your MBA elsewhere. Would you still be recognized?
An MBA will be just part of your career planning challenge. To learn more about career change, visit http://www.MidlifeCareerChoice.com and sign up for the FREE 12-week Midlife Career Strategy e-course: 12 lessons delivered to your inbox. Do the suggested assignments and you’re guaranteed to get an “A” in midlife career strategy.
Or download my Report: Back To School For A Mid-Life Career Change.