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Insights: How to Decide Whether to Get an MBA or Stay at Your Job

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights, Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.

Question

Submitted by: WISE NYC Metro member | 6-15 years professional experience

I work in international sports marketing, which presents both opportunities and challenges. One particular challenge is deciding whether to pursue a masters degree, when your industry takes you around the world and introduces you to all sorts of opportunities. If you leave to go back to school, will that hurt your career progression? Will you be out of touch when you rejoin the workforce? Or will you be much better offer with an MBA?

Answer

The first question you need to ask yourself is why do you want an MBA? I often see people pursuing an MBA simply for the piece of paper because they think it will give them something, rather than looking at the course itself and whether it will provide them with additional skills or the knowledge they need. If it’s the latter, rather than the former, then look at different options. Do you need to take a year off or can you study part-time while continuing to working.  I did my MBA while working full time. Although it was certainly a challenge keeping myself organized, it was very doable.

Depending on where you are, taking a year or two off work doesn't necessarily hurt your career. If you are already in a senior level role, then taking two years off to do an MBA may not be necessary. After all, you got where you are without it. If you are at the start of your career, it's often easier, but I would look at other options first, such as completing the degree part time so you can still work.

Jane Hollman

About Jane Hollman

Jane Hollman has more than 25 years experience in senior human resources roles at large multinationals and sports across Asia Pacific and the United States. Currently a career coach, she helps business leaders and university students think through their career paths. Hollman is passionate about creating flexible, innovative work places and mentors women looking to start their own businesses. She is also a freelance writer covering the business of sports for publications such as Women Talking Sports.

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