Do something great

Why Should I Get An MBA? Is an MBA Worth It?

July 18, 2024
image of black dots
What is an MBA?Why Should I Get an MBA?Is Getting an MBA Worth It?What Do I Need to Get an MBA?Choosing Where to ApplyHow to Determine If You Should Get an MBA FAQ

Earning an MBA may be a logical step for you to gain the skills you need to advance your career. However, this does not mean that deciding to pursue an MBA is a decision taken lightly. To get an MBA, you may have to make monumental shifts in the daily life that you’ve become accustomed to living. 

An MBA will help you grow and gain knowledge, but sometimes, growth and change can be uncomfortable, even if it’s positive.  In order to help you decide if getting an MBA is right for you, this article will explore what an MBA is, why you should get one, and the benefits and considerations of pursuing this prestigious degree.

This article will help you understand the steps you need to take to get an MBA, as well as help you select which schools and programs will suit your career aspirations best. 

What Is an MBA? 

An MBA is a Master’s in Business Administration and is an internationally recognized business degree with a history dating back more than 100 years ago. The first MBA program ever was founded in 1908 at Harvard Business School, 27 years after the world’s first collegiate school of business, Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1881. 

The MBA is a graduate degree designed to prepare students to understand the functioning of business management better. The MBA is a popular choice for those looking to secure corporate-level jobs in major companies or entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses. 

This credential appears on the resumes of many individuals in high leadership positions, including numerous Fortune 500 executives. However, just getting an MBA is not a guaranteed one-way ticket to fame and fortune. 

Elissa Sangster, CEO of the Forté Foundation, said, "There's nothing about getting an MBA that doesn't require initiative from that point all the way through your career.” 

There are many different types of MBA programs that are specialized to certain schools, but there are three main types that you can pursue: full-time, part-time, or executive MBAs. 

Full-Time MBA

The full-time MBA programs are completed during the day and are typically 1 to 2 years in duration, although some programs may be as long as three years. The cost to attend a full-time MBA at a top business school will vary, but you can expect to pay more than $200,000 for a 2-year program, which includes tuition, living costs, school materials, etc.

Part-Time MBA 

Part-time MBAs are often completed on evenings and weekends and can take anywhere from two to six years to complete, depending on how you build your schedule. Part-time MBAs are best suited for those who want to remain working full-time or have community or family obligations. 

Part-time programs usually are a fraction of the tuition of full-time programs, making them an attractive option if you are looking to save on costs. 

Executive MBA 

Executive MBAs (EMBAs) are completed on a part-time basis, similar to part-time MBA programs. The main difference is that those seeking an EMBA usually have much more work experience and hold senior or high leadership positions. The EMBA usually takes between one and two years to complete and can come with a hefty price tag. 

EMBA programs are often more expensive than full-time MBAs, but usually, your employer will carry most, if not all, of the cost. An MBA can be a costly and timely commitment, but it is a solid credential to have on your resume.

Why Should I Get an MBA? 

When considering whether you should pursue this degree, there are numerous factors to keep in mind. Below, we provide a comprehensive answer to the question, “what is an MBA good for?”

More Job Opportunities and Higher Earnings

Getting an MBA can be a great way to unlock new opportunities as you navigate the corporate world. Obtaining this advanced business degree is a great way to set you apart from your peers because employers will know that you have the skills and knowledge to manage people and succeed in a business setting that other candidates may lack. 

Graduates from MBA programs can often accelerate their career paths with their new skills: that promotion you’ve been working so hard for awaits. 

With a more diverse pool of jobs and opportunities for career advancement, it’s no surprise that MBA graduates can more than double their earnings after completing their degree. While getting an MBA can be costly, the return on investment can be high. 

How much money you make will be impacted by your choice of school and industry, but a recent survey suggests that the average salary of MBA graduates averaged around $115,000 annually. 

Graduates who attended the top 10 business schools in the U.S. saw an average annual compensation of over $190,000. Money may not be everything, but getting an MBA can lead to higher-paying jobs, and who wouldn't want a little more cash to spare? 

Job Title Salary
Consulting $81,350
Cheif Financial Officer $442,206
VP of Finance $280,690
Financial Controller $256,500
Accounting Manager $123,879
Financial Analyst $67,143
IT Manager $144,025
Data Analyst $107,829
Chief Technology Officer $303,200
Product Manager $127,648

Networking Opportunities 

But what can an MBA do for you beyond making you lots of money? Getting an MBA can connect you with many influential and like-minded individuals. In terms of the classroom, you can build connections with other diverse professionals as you work together on numerous projects. 

Perhaps some of these people you will click with enough to forge lifelong friendships and help each other succeed. 

Along with the chance to network with your peers, you will also have the opportunity to join an alumni network where you can access and connect with accomplished professionals. You can connect with your school’s faculty, guest speakers, and anyone else associated with your MBA program. 

Nirav Mehta, associate director for MBA admissions at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, said, “The connections that one makes through the MBA program can be life-changing, and these relationships help to facilitate career transitions long after graduation."

Source: Forbes

Changing Industries 

Maybe you’ve decided that your current career path is not what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. That’s okay - statistics suggest that the average person will switch careers 5 to 7 times in their lifetime. If you’re committed to leaping into another industry, getting an MBA can be a great springboard. 

The University of Walden lists one reason for getting an MBA is to switch career paths, stating that “MBA programs force introspection that helps students determine what matters the most. Not only can they solve complex business issues, but they might also decide to go in an entirely different direction than they originally planned.” 

When you’re gaining new skills and having new experiences, it’s possible to discover a passion for another field. Liza Kirkpatrick, the managing director of the career management center at the Kellogg School of Management, said, “Something to note about the MBA is that you can apply it to most industries. 

For people who don’t know what industry is right for them yet, there are a series of specializations and concentrations you can explore in these programs, like strategy, corporate finance, and operations.” Remember that it’s excellent to explore all of your options and grow, even if that means switching fields. 

Gaining New Skills and Reflecting on Big Business Issues 

The skills you will acquire will help you in your professional life and help shape you personally, too. People are constantly reinventing themselves, and getting your MBA can set you on the path to personal growth. The classes can be challenging, but they will also coerce you into new ways of thinking critically and will show you different perspectives. 

Many schools offer over 100 electives, so you can tailor your experience to fill in your own personal and professional gaps. You will also have the chance to reflect on business issues on a global scale. Reflection is a great way to solve problems, and by getting an MBA, you can be a part of the solution. 

Getting an MBA will help you understand the workings of the business world, but it can also help you facilitate change for major issues like poverty or climate change. While there are numerous benefits to getting an MBA, there are also some initial drawbacks to consider before pursuing this prestigious graduate degree: 

Is Getting an MBA Worth It?

Despite the two-year time commitment and cost that often exceeds $200,000, most graduates contend MBAs are well worth the investment. An MBA can offer unparalleled resources, lucrative career opportunities, and lifelong connections that will benefit your professional journey.

An MBA may be an excellent option if you have a go-getter attitude. You will also need the time and resources to go through the program and pay what could be a significant tuition. 

On the other hand an MBA may not be worth the time and money you would need to put into it it if you have entrepreneurial aspirations, want to jon a specifilized profession, or already have significant work experience. In these cases an MBA may not be the best program for your goals.

Check out this testimonial from someone we helped through the MBA process.

What Do I Need to Get an MBA? 

If you’ve decided that getting an MBA is your next step, you will need to fulfill the requirements to apply to business school. You will submit an online application with specific documents for the admissions committee’s consideration. While these requirements will depend on what school and program you apply to, this is the general application structure. 

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree 

You must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree or international equivalent and provide academic transcripts to the admissions committee. A low GPA from your undergrad isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker in your MBA application, but a higher GPA will bolster your application.

A recent study found that the average GPA among students at the top 20 business schools in the U.S. was just over 3.5. 

Professional Resume 

You must submit a one- to two-page CV or resume detailing your work experience, extracurricular activities, and any other relevant information about your experience to the admissions committee.

It’s worth noting that the average MBA applicant will have around four to five years of full-time work experience and be around 27-28 before applying to a program. Your resume should be easy to follow, short, and impactful to make it the best it can be. 

Valid GMAT, GRE, or EA scores 

To submit to your institution, you must have valid GMAT, GRE, or EA scores from within the last five years. Although test scores are accepted by institutions vary, many schools will accept either GMAT or GRE scores.

If this is the case, you can choose to take whichever test you want. These tests can be pretty challenging, and there are many services available for help with GRE prep and GMAT prep, as well as online practice tests

Letters of Recommendation

The number of recommendation letters you must submit will be school-specific, but expect to submit at least one or two with your application. 

Many schools will prefer to receive a letter of recommendation from your current manager or supervisor but will usually accept them from past supervisors. Letters of recommendation are a crucial part of your application, as the people you have worked with closely can vouch for your work ethic and character. 

Essay Responses 

You should prepare to write at least one essay as part of your application. Essay questions will vary greatly by school and even by year. Still, most business schools will have you write about yourself and your experiences and why you specifically want to attend their business school. 

Writing a great business school essay can be a daunting task, but remember to brainstorm, create an outline, and show the admissions committee that you’ve done your homework. If applicable, you can also answer the open-ended or personal essays with actionable steps you’ve taken to grow or achieve your goals. 

Application Fee

All schools will require you to submit an application fee as part of your application. These fees will be school-dependent but will typically not exceed $300. 


If your application is well-received by the admissions committee, you will be invited to attend an interview either virtually or on campus. MBA interviews can be nerve-wracking but should go well if you’re prepared. 

You should know your application front-to-back, gain a general idea of what questions you may be asked, and remain authentic and professional. Interviews are an excellent way for the admissions committee to get to know you, but also a perfect way for you to get to know them. 

Keep in mind that this list details general requirements for getting an MBA, and you may be asked for other components as part of your application, such as an English language proficiency test, video questions, or other assessments. 

Remember to read the MBA requirements carefully before putting your application together. If you want more peace of mind, you can find a service to evaluate and polish your application from start to finish

Choosing Where to Apply

If you know why you want to get an MBA and understand the general requirements, the next step is deciding where to apply. A great place to start is to check the rankings for MBA programs, though basing your decision on rankings alone is not the best way to choose a school. 

However, rankings will help you evaluate the competitiveness of the program and how you stack up to your competition. You should be realistic but also apply to programs that are perfect for you, even if they are a bit of a reach. You should also check out specialty rankings in the area of your interest.

For example, if you want to break into Silicon Valley, UCLA would be a great school to consider. Many schools cater to specific areas of interest and can help you get the most out of your MBA experience. 

You can try to work out if a school is a good fit for you by visiting the campus, talking to staff and current students, and attending online or in-person events. Finding a school that is the right fit for you will be subjective depending on what is most important to you: classes offered, flexibility, extracurricular activities, or location. 

Keep your preferences in mind while you browse schools, and you will be more likely to find a school that fits your career aspirations and lifestyle. If you’re still stumped about what programs are most suitable for you, there are services available to help you choose an ideal business school. 

How to Determine If You Should Get an MBA

An ideal candidate for an MBA program typically exhibits a combination of academic prowess, professional experience, and clear career goals.

A strong academic background with a good undergraduate GPA is a good place to start. It helps if your undergraduate degree is in a related field, such as business, economics, or engineering. High scores in your GMAT or GRE also help, as they show that you have the skills required for MBA coursework.

In terms of work experience, most MBA programs prefer that you have at least 2 to 5 years of professional experience. Ideally, this experience should include leadership roles, project management, or other significant achievements that can show your potential for growth. When to get an MBA depends on you and your goals. You can still consider an MBA if you have a longer work history

As part of your application, you will need to be clear on your short-term and long-term career goals and be able to demonstrate how an MBA will help you achieve those goals. Your MBA program of choice may offer specific offerings such as certain specializations, networking, and geographic location.

Lastly, your personal aspirations and qualities should align with your MBA. These would include qualities such as leadership potential, ability to work in a team, communication, motivation, and resilience. 

Some questions you could ask yourself if you’re considering an MBA are: 

  • Why do I want an MBA? 
  • What are my current business skills? 
  • Am I happy in my current position? 
  • Where would I like to be five years from now? Ten years? Twenty years? 
  • Would the skills I gain through an MBA help me reach my goals? 

If still need more time to consider an MBA, check out this case study with Steve who we helped make it to Booth for his MBA at 35 years old. 

To find out what MBA may fit your goals and lifestyle, check out our free tool to help you find the best MBA school for you.


1. I did not end my undergrad with an exceptionally high GPA. Is this a deal-breaker? 

Not at all. Most MBA applications are reviewed holistically, and your undergraduate GPA is just one component of your application. If there was a reason for your lower GPA in undergrad (maybe you had to work or you had to deal with extenuating circumstances), it’s worth discussing this discrepancy in your application. 

If you excel in other areas of your application or demonstrate how you overcame adversity, a low GPA does not make you an ineligible candidate. 

2. I haven’t taken a standardized test yet. Is the GMAT or GRE easier?

The GMAT and GRE are reasonably similar in difficulty. However, the GMAT may be slightly more manageable if you’re exceptional at math or a highly analytical person. If you are language-oriented with an expansive vocabulary, you may find the GRE easier.

 Make sure to check if the school you are applying to accepts both the GMAT and GRE or if they are partial to one test over the other. 

3. The cost of an MBA is a barrier for me. Are there scholarships available? 

The answer will depend on the school, but usually, students may be considered for merit-based scholarships automatically. Be sure to apply early, and browse the school’s website for scholarships for which you’re eligible. 

4. In which round should I apply for the best chance of admission?

The round you apply to will be specific to your situation. If you feel that your application is strong, applying in round 1 may be best for you, as there are more spots for top candidates. Round 2 may be best to give you more time to craft and perfect your application, but it is also considered the most competitive around.

 Round 3 will have little spots left in the program to fill. Still, you may consider applying in this round if you had a personal emergency or exceptional circumstances that prevented you from applying in the first two rounds. 

5. Can I apply even if I don’t meet the minimum requirements? 

MBA programs are very competitive, and you need to fulfill all requirements to be considered. Just fulfilling the conditions is not enough to guarantee your acceptance to business school, so the chances of acceptance with unfulfilled requirements would be meager. 

6. What’s the difference between an MBA and a regular Master’s program?

These programs are similar in that they are both graduate degrees. However, the MBA focuses on training and practical business experience, with an emphasis on leadership experience.  


Deciding to get an MBA is a significant life and career decision, but if the answers to “Why get an MBA?” reveal more benefits than drawbacks, getting your MBA can be the right decision. Getting an MBA can expand your job opportunities, allow you to earn more money, connect you to like-minded professionals, and even help you switch industries.

Although getting an MBA can be costly and time-consuming, the experience and knowledge you gain will be an invaluable resource in your professional life. If you work to meet the general requirements of getting an MBA and perfect your application, you will have a higher chance of acceptance to business school. 

You can choose to apply to numerous programs, and you can select these programs based on what schools you believe are most suitable for you and your career goals. If getting an MBA is the right move for you in your career, you can achieve your goals with the right amount of preparation and time.


Reviewed by:

Alexei Sorokin

Investment Banking and Corporate Development Expert

Reviewed: 7/17/24

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
Get Free Consultation

Schedule A Free Consultation

Plan Smart. Execute Strong. Get Into Your Dream School.
image of black dots

You May Also Like