One of the most popular graduate degrees nationally is the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Many people working in the business world pursue an MBA as a way to rapidly advance their career or become more specialized in a specific area of study like business analytics or accounting.
But, what about students who don’t have a background in business and no undergraduate degree from a business school?
You don’t need a business degree to get an MBA
The short answer is: No, you don’t need a business degree to pursue an MBA.
In fact, many of those who receive MBAs each year come from non-business backgrounds. Those working in science, technology, and many other fields choose to pursue an MBA as a way to advance their career.
While still a Master’s degree, an MBA is not seen as being equivalent to other graduate studies, which generally are used to advance understanding and knowledge within a specialized field. Rather, an MBA is closer to an undergraduate education in the fact that it covers a broad range of general business subjects. And those without prior business education will quickly have a base level of knowledge they need to further their education into a specialized field within their MBA studies.
How an MBA can be useful
MBA degrees can be hugely helpful for people in a variety of career fields.
By obtaining a business degree, scientists, accountants, managers, and many other professionals have the opportunity to learn more about corporate-level business management. The education gained through an MBA program will prepare you to see “the big picture” and understand the various functions within a large business and how to evaluate and make decisions regarding those functions.
As you progress in your career, most people find that their job becomes less about doing specific tasks and more about managing and directing the tasks of others in order to meet specific goals. This is why an MBA is a common choice for people moving from lower-level positions and into management, where their duties may not align with the education they received in undergrad.
Is an MBA the best route to achieve your goals?
Gaining an MBA can be a fundamental step in many career paths. Particularly, those looking to move from science or technology fields into management positions, or those hoping to move into upper management.
But, it’s not always the best route.
Before deciding on an MBA, you should ask yourself if this particular degree will best position you to meet your ultimate goal.
It may be that obtaining a graduate degree more closely related to your career field will actually help you advance more easily than obtaining an MBA.
In order to determine which is best, you’ll want to do some research. Investigate potential positions that you’re interested in someday having and see what credentials they require. But, don’t stop there. Also, investigate people who already hold similar positions to see which types of degrees they have earned. Even if the job description doesn’t explicitly require an MBA, you may find that those hired for it still commonly have obtained one–or vice versa!
The important thing is to do proper research regarding your goals and then create a plan of action for how to get there.
What other options are available?
Even if an MBA seems like the best route forward, it’s worth taking a few minutes to investigate other options.
You may want to choose a graduate degree in your career field or the career field that you’re hoping to move into. This is an option, but it will depend on what career goals you have in mind as to whether it will help you to achieve them.
Likewise, there are many training or certifications that can often be obtained for less and more quickly than an MBA. You may find that a certification gives you the basic level of knowledge you need to meet your goals.