I started my MBA degree at the University of Texas at Dallas this semester! I’m doing the part-time program in the evenings, which should take me about 2.5-3 years to complete the required 53 hours. I’ve got 7 hours this semester, comprised of Financial Accounting for 2 credit hours the first 8 weeks, Managerial Accounting for 2 credit hours the second 8 weeks, and Consumer Behavior for 3 credit hours for the full 16 weeks. The good news is, I only have to take two classes concurrently this semester. The bad news is, the accounting classes are accelerated, and accounting is not my strong suit! I’ve known I wanted to go back to grad school since high school, so it was only a matter of picking which graduate degree to pursue. After hours of research, I determined that the MBA was the most profitable endeavor. Why not the Master’s in Marketing you ask? Let’s take a look at a few of my reasons for toughing out the core hours (consisting of all the general business class AGAIN) over pursuing the subject I’m most passionate about professionally:
All the jobs I want ask for the MBA. For marketing, the tipping point in experience for the “good job” is 5-7 years experience. In addition to 5-7 years of experience, all the jobs I want also prefer or require the MBA. As in most fields, managing people and implementing strategic, long-term plans is the next rung on the career ladder. These positions don’t require more “book knowledge” of my craft, but rather overall “business” acumen and a different way of thinking. The MBA is a well-rounded degree that teaches me to think about the big picture issues facing managers, in addition to my operating knowledge of Marketing.
The MBA puts me on a career track vs. an academic track. From what I’ve seen and discussed, the Master’s in Marketing is more for those seeking to advance into the academic world. Because it dives deeper into one subject, most people pursuing the Master’s in Marketing ultimately end up in academics, helping to research and shape the theory and abstract aspects of Marketing. While I enjoy going down the rabbit hole occasionally, I’m passionate about helping real companies and real people find real solutions. I know that while theory backs a lot of my day-to-day practice, the true impact is coming from tangible steps and measurable action items.
Higher earning potential. Let’s be honest… most people pursuing a business degree are looking to increase their earning potential. While I enjoy gaining more knowledge, I can do that for free at the library, the internet, or any number of organizations and seminars. The formal education in an MBA increases my earning potential more than informal education, and this increase occurs sooner than if I keep going on a path of just informal education through more experience. Again, because the MBA puts me on a career track, I’m going to earn much more much sooner than if I was on an academic track, which requires years of service to gain tenure and a high salary.
I’m excited to get back to the “pure” study of business and Marketing, and I’m already seeing some gains in my work on the job as well. I’ll be posting some insights, struggles, and tips while I pursue my MBA, and I’m looking forward to 46 more hours until graduation!