Maybe you have seen “MBA preferred” in a dream job posting or watched colleagues advance in their careers after earning an MBA.
However, some people are wary of earning an MBA. They wonder if it’s worth the investment, if there are any truly respected MBA options out there, and whether they can balance their lives with earning a degree.
Unless you’ve been keeping a close eye on higher education trends in recent years, you might not be aware of the evolution of the MBA.
There are three major changes to earning an MBA in 2017 that you should consider if you are anticipating a career move-whether upward in your current career or a shift to a whole new industry.
1. No Test Scores Required
Chances are, if you’re considering going back to school for an MBA, you’ve worked hard to get where you are in your professional journey.
MBA programs have been taking note and are now working to remove a barrier to entry for experienced professional applicants.
For professionals with five or more years of experience, some schools offer GMAT waivers for online MBA programs.
GMAT waivers (or GRE waivers) allow hopeful MBA students to utilize their unique experiences instead of taking a standardized test as a part of their application process.
Schools that offer GMAT and GRE waivers see professional experience as a good indication of whether a student will succeed in their MBA program.
Students with diverse professional backgrounds also enhance the learning experience and can enrich fellow students with their real-world knowledge.
2. Go Online; Stay Off Campus
Another barrier that many professionals see to earning an MBA is the idea of going “back to school.”
Luckily, with online learning, many MBA programs don’t require you to step foot in a classroom-or miss any time at your current job.
Being able to complete an online MBA allows students to maintain their income and continue progressing in their current career path, bypassing any negatives that come with a physical college campus classroom requirement.
For those who are wary of online education scams and unethical companies lurking in the search for the right online degree program, don’t worry.
Many of the top online MBA programs are offered by highly respected institutions that any student (or future employer) can earn a degree from with confidence and trust in the quality of the education they receive.
3. Hone a Specialized Skillset
Don’t be fooled by the name. A master’s degree in business administration can be tailored to a very specific career focus that speaks directly to your dream job.
Even if you want to make a shift to a new role or industry, earning an MBA means you will leverage your existing skillset and experience as you learn new skills and information.
There is also a growing trend in “micro” courses and certifications, many from accredited universities, that will allow you to test the water of a new career path before making the financial investment in an MBA program.
Now that you know about the three major changes in earning an MBA in 2017, it’s time to take inventory of how you’re feeling about your current career path.
If you’re ready to go to the next level in your current company, take a bold new path in a different industry, or even start your own business, consider the value of earning an MBA. These changes make it easier than ever.