Working professionals who make a mid-career change do so for a variety of reasons; for some it's a choice and for others a necessity brought on by changes in their jobs, companies or industries. As the next industrial revolution takes hold, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics are also expected to spawn a wave of career changers, with those taking a proactive approach more likely to benefit than those who are caught off guard.
Consider that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Individuals born in the latter years of the baby boom (1957-1964) held an average of 11.9 jobs from age 18 to age 50." The number of jobs held over a career has only increased with successive generations as the pace of change in business has accelerated.
The surging popularity of affordable and convenient online degree programs has made the pursuit of an MBA much less daunting for people in their 30s and 40s who have considerable financial and personal obligations. The online MBA has become a clear choice for upwardly mobile professionals and career changers. In a recent survey of MBA applicants, 48% said a desire for a new career was a primary reason for pursuing an MBA, according to an Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants survey cited in U.S. News & World Report.
Questions to Contemplate as You Consider a Career Shift
It is highly likely that a common impetus for a career change has led you to this page. You may find it helpful to consider four questions as you contemplate enrolling in an MBA program:
- Are you satisfied in your current job? Do you find your work intellectually stimulating, challenging and rewarding? Or do you sometimes dread coming to work? Feeling bored or disengaged signals job dissatisfaction, which you may or may not be able to easily remedy by searching for a new job or line of work.
- Are you looking for an increase in stature and responsibility? Positions of greater authority typically require greater training and expertise across industries. Many professionals find it difficult to break into management and executive roles with a bachelor's degree alone.
- Do you have management-level soft skills? An MBA program provides training in the soft skills required for success in management and leadership positions. Students develop critical communication, team-building, project and organizational management skills.
- What is your long-term career vision? Enrolling in an MBA program provides the essential mid-career opportunity for self-reflection, evaluation and consideration of many potential career options if you are unsure of your long-term ambitions. If you currently have a long-term vision, you may be able to choose an MBA program that provides the specific training you need to reach that objective more quickly than you could through lateral moves from one organization to another without an MBA.
Employers in High-Growth Fields Value MBA Graduates
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reports in its Year-End Employer Poll Report 2018 that employers in the United States tend to regard the value of graduate business education more highly than other postgraduate training, with 47% rating it very high and 39% rating it above average.
Specifically, employers value training that addresses the changing business landscape as influenced by technology. Employers seek MBA graduates for their training in analytics, technology and innovation to adapt to these changes. In fact, given the accelerated pace of change today compared with that of prior decades, today's MBA graduates have an historic advantage in career progression because they have the up-to-the-minute training many of their colleagues do not.
The GMAC's Alumni Perspectives Survey 2018 reveals that a majority of business school alumni feel they were able to advance their careers at a faster rate compared with peers who lack a B-school education. Recent alumni are employed in mid-level positions (49%), while those who graduated earlier have moved up into senior management, executive and C-suite positions. Alumni work in high growth fields including products/services (20%), technology (17%), finance (15%) and government (13%). Ten percent of business school alumni are now entrepreneurs, according to the survey.
Earning your MBA online provides the opportunity you may need at this point in your career to acquire managerial skills, broaden your business expertise and catapult your career in a more exciting direction.
Learn more about SOU's online MBA program.
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