The very short answer to this question is ‘both’. Both having an MBA and having work experience are both immensely useful things to have on your CV. What you should aim for really depends upon you– what you’re good at, and what you’d prefer to do in your career.
This advice has some prerequisites. if you choose to study an MBA, it should be a good one that is related to your career goals. Alternatively, if you want to go straight into business, your work experience should be relevant to the areas you wish to pursue in your future career.
The rest of this article will go over the pros and cons of an MBA and experience. There’s a few for both but it’s best remembering that above all else the best one is entirely dependent on the person who’s choosing – an MBA will be better for some people, and experience will be better for others. We don’t’ just mean that an MBA is better for the people who are more likely to pass it, either: they’re genuinely both as good as each other, under the right circumstances. It’s up to you to choose. Without further ado, here are the pros and cons:
An MBA is particularly useful simply because it can ‘stand-alone’ on your CV without any need of justification – it’s a simple proof that you know, generally, what you’re talking about as far as business is concerned and you’ve been well-versed in the business world as a whole. This will make you enormously attractive to employers and will help a lot in your career. Issue is, you need to pay for the privilege of getting that qualification, and spend a few years that you could be working in getting the degree. It’s certainly worth it, but experience would be a better option if you don’t want to spend three years paying for a qualification, particularly if you have the opportunity for good, relevant experience in an area you’re interested in.
Good, well-rounded experience in the business world without a previous qualification is hard to come by, but if you get an opportunity to work in a business role then it can be a very enjoyable and profitable experience. Not only will you be paid to learn some of the tricks of the trade, chances are you’ll develop a speciality in the business world from the company you’ll be working for – an MBA doesn’t really allow for much specialisation in a chosen area, and will be more rounded. This can be a good thing if you don’t know what specific area you want to go into, but if you do know then experience in that area can be a huge advantage over other applicants for a job.
Put simply: experience is good because you get paid to learn, and you’ll be naturally developing skills that are more specialised than in an MBA (normally). An MBA is good because it’s a simple qualification that will prove definitively that you have good and flexible business knowledge. If you have to choose between the two, be grateful that two excellent opportunities have come along at once.
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