If you’re thinking of starting a business, or you’ve already begun one, you’ve no doubt at least considered pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration. Learning the basics of starting and maintaining a sound business is definitely essential for success. One thing you should be aware of is that theory and practice are equally important in business. While pursuing an MBA degree, you’ll learn the theory inside and out. Of course, you can learn theory on your own, so in answer to the question of “are MBAs necessary?” it really and truly all depends. Here are a few things to consider:

1.      Very few jobs require MBA degrees.

Of course, even though you may be thinking of starting a small business, the fact of the matter is that, either now or in the future, you’ll need a steady income through a steady job. The vast majority of jobs out there do not require an MBA degree. There are exceptions, of course, especially for more advanced corporate executive positions. But the most important thing that employers look for in job candidates is a combination of relevant experience and personality. Business schools won’t teach you how to be engaging or persuasive, and pursuing a business degree means you’ll sacrifice the opportunity cost of acquiring experience.

2.      Pursuing an MBA degree enables you to skip lots of the trial-and-error process.

By completely skipping out on the MBA, you’ll likely learn the hard way as you start your small business. Learning through experience can likely be more valuable, but in business school, you’ll be presented with millions of case studies so you can learn from others’ mistakes, and not your own. An MBA degree will give you the business know-how so that you can start your business more smoothly.

3.      The greatest value of an MBA degree is the people you’ll meet and work with.

You know the saying, “It’s not what you; it’s who you know?” Well no saying can more accurately capture the value of an MBA degree. While you’ll learn a lot of the “what” part, the students, professors, and recruiters you’ll meet will help you tremendously with the “who” part. Once you’ve finished business school, you’ll have an incredibly diverse array of contacts to develop a strong and cohesive network.

4.      MBAs can be expensive. Be sure you’re financially prepared before jumping in.

If an MBA were free, then I would have no caveats about enjoining you to get out there and pursue one. But the fact of the matter is that MBAs can sometimes be prohibitively expensive. If you’re seriously considering an MBA, have a serious plan for paying for it. Online MBA degrees can be more affordable and offer you the opportunity to work at the same time, but be sure to do your research. There are more scams out there than there are trustworthy programs. The key to making the most out of an MBA degree is planning for one.

Of course, as noted earlier, you don’t need an MBA degree. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs never even got their bachelor’s degrees. But in an increasingly competitive marketplace, MBAs can afford you security. In this economy, we need all the security we can get.

Author bio: As one of the most knowledgeable bloggers on online business degrees, Amanda Watson knows a thing or two about small businesses and entrepreneurship on the web. She writes for many publications that discuss business education from an online perspective, including an online mba blog. Send her an email at watsonamanda.48@gmail.com

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