Know Your Atlanta Marketing Community- Further Your Education
In this edition of Know Your Atlanta Marketing Community, local Atlanta native and MBA grad, Katherine Kise, gives advice to graduating students who are looking into higher education programs, like MBA’s.
There is constant debate, especially in our current economy, over whether to pursue an MBA straight out of the gate after undergrad or to enter the workforce and gain experience before going after that graduate degree. Quite frankly, for me, it was a no brainer because I did not even consider going to graduate school immediately after graduating from college. I didn’t realize that was an option. In my experience, after people graduated, they got a “real” job and figured out that other stuff along the way. Looking back, it seems I unknowingly made the right decision to wait a few years before venturing out into Business school.
My experience in Corporate America benefited me in ways that surprised me throughout my entire time in B-school. The leadership, analytical and communication skills that were honed during my years “climbing the corporate ladder” gave me a clear advantage over other students.
In fact, looking back on the last three years of robust class discussions, highly demanding team projects, extensive problem solving and critical thinking, I am certain that the most meaningful contributions of knowledge and insights came from those students who have some work experience.
Notice that does not say extensive, relevant, or even lengthy work experience, but simply work experience. Critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving and leadership are all skills that are sharpened when you encounter situations unique to the workplace – any workplace – and are all put into practice while slogging through your MBA.
You will frequently and without fail fall back on your experiences to make sense of the curriculum and to enhance the other students’ comprehension. Students rely on each other to complement the class discussion and materials because a Business school education goes far beyond the boundaries of power point slides and textbooks; it encompasses learning from the real-life triumphs and tribulations that everyone brings to the table. Without these sorts of knowledge exchanges, an MBA would hardly differ from undergrad, let alone be worthwhile.
Time in the workforce will also allow you to build your savings to minimize the impact of student loans, and you will be able to establish yourself and your professional contacts. When you finish the degree, you will then have a strong network and be more marketable. Some employers even offer tuition reimbursement and/or promotions to help motivate you towards completing your MBA and staying with the company. By jumping into an MBA program immediately after completing your BBA, you would not be exposed to these opportunities.
My advice to any potential graduate student considering Business school immediately after completing a BBA would be to look at the Universities and programs that interest you and notice the admissions requirements for work experience. Next, identify companies and/or jobs that grab your attention, and see if they offer tuition reimbursement. Apply to the jobs that are the best fit for you, your long-term career goals and your short-term goal of being accepted into graduate school. Then, just see where it takes you! You will be surprised to see how your education from the real world will help you when you’re sitting in class on your first day of your MBA!