When is the best time to pursue an MBA?Chen Wan Lim
The pursuit of education and knowledge knows no bounds. There are no ‘right’ or ‘suitable’ time to embark on a quest to upskill oneself with higher paper qualifications. However, candidates are advised to evaluate their current career stage, career path, intentions and motivations of pursuing an MBA. Here are some factors to consider before committing to a potentially two or two and a half year MBA course:
Financial preparation. MBAs are an investment. The returns could come in many forms such as future salary increments, annual bonuses, job promotions and better opportunities. However, the upfront financial commitment can be quite a hefty. Therefore, it is only wise for potential candidates to gauge their respective financial positions to fund the MBA all the way through. There are of course, many numerous ways to finance your MBA as expounded in our article titled “Funding an MBA Programme in Malaysia”, but thorough financial planning needs to be carried out first to ensure that all other debt obligations are met. Once you (and your family) are convinced that your financial position allows you to pursue an MBA, then perhaps it is time to be scouting around for potential institutions.
Sufficient industry experiences. Most MBAs are catered for experience professionals seeking to either upskill their skill sets or to enhance their paper qualifications. There are also MBA courses which allow entry for candidates straight after their Bachelor’s degree. Potential candidates would need to ensure that they have the required industry experience before deciding on an MBA course. It is worthwhile noting that the main aim of having sufficient industry experience is to complement the entire MBA learning experience where candidates are able to share insights, thoughts and ideas which could only be derived from real-world experiences. If a potential candidate is currently in a lower or middle management position, then the time is probably right for an MBA as most candidates are between 28 to 40 years of age.
Climbing the corporate ladder or looking to change ships? Apart from the financial commitment and having the appropriate entry qualifications, the most important criterion to evaluate is arguably your current career position. If you are considering an MBA, chances are you are either: (i) In a position where you feel you are ready for a career upgrade or; (ii) Looking at switching roles from a technical role to a managerial role. If your reason is the former, then an enhanced paper qualification will definitely give you an added advantage to be considered for a promotion. If your reason is the latter, then an MBA is even more important for you as an MBA will allow candidates to transition from a technical role such as engineering to a managerial role.
In short, there are no clear answers to satisfy the question of the best time to pursue an MBA. ‘Anytime’ is perhaps the best answer a candidate can get – having an MBA is always an added advantage. For in-depth professional advice and counselling, contact STUDYMASTERS.MY