Although application rates for MBA programs have declined somewhat over the past two years, there is still a strong interest in the degree, particularly among students who are coming back to school later in life. While the value of getting an MBA immediately after a bachelor's degree is often contested, the advanced degree is perceived as especially valuable for individuals who are seeking to make a career change. —
Trends in job stability have changed significantly over the past twenty years, and Millennials are now switching jobs an average of four times in their first ten years after college graduation. As companies have become more willing to let go of employees, workers are also quicker now to seek better opportunities. In order to be competitive in the business world, people need credentials and skills that can easily transfer from one job or career to another.
According to a recent survey of MBA program applicants by the Association of International Graduate Admittance Consultants, making a job change was among the top three motivations cited for getting an MBA. Applicants also reported that they wanted to gain knowledge and skills and to build a professional network. Those who were interested in a career change felt that the degree would help to broaden their qualifications beyond the specialized knowledge they had already acquired in their current or prior career.
Modern MBA programs offer not only the general management skills that are valued in any industry, but they are provide specialized, industry-specific courses. Students enrolled in one Online MBA Program in California, for instance, can choose among four concentrations: general business, marketing, finance, and location analytics. In addition, MBA students can choose courses related to new and emerging technologies, such as fintech, cybersecurity, and data analytics. Since 2010, the rate of MBA students going into a technology-related field has more than tripled.
The same survey compared enrollment trends at different types of schools. Survey responses revealed that while fewer students overall are applying to MBA programs, the top 20 schools have actually seen steady growth over the past 24 years. Online MBA programs have also grown significantly in recent years. While the top tier traditional schools are consistently popular, their high cost and limited acceptance rates make them inaccessible to many students. An Online MBA program, on the other hand, can serve a larger number of students at a lower cost.
Online education is widely accepted now as a legitimate and often beneficial alternative to traditional face-to-face classes; there is no longer any stigma attached to getting a degree through an online program. In addition to the lower tuition cost, students typically cite convenience as a reason for choosing an online program. In particular, students who are employed appreciate the flexibility of being able to schedule schoolwork around their job responsibilities. In addition, most online programs allow students to take classes part-time.
Whether taking classes online or in a traditional business school, students who are coming in with real-world experience have more to offer and more to take away, say business professors. Students who come back to school after spending some time in the business world can relate course content to their experiences and absorb more of the new ideas they're exposed to. In addition, recruiters are finding that a combination of work experience and an MBA degree can position a job applicant to make a successful job or career change.
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