Life doesn’t move in a straight path. It twists and turns and throws unexpected opportunities and challenges at you in your personal life for sure but also in your working life. Maybe you’re in one of those spots right now where you’re questioning the job you have and contemplating your options for changing things up.
You might be working in a mid-range position and want to move to the next rank or find a more fulfilling job in another setting. Unfortunately, it’s easy to feel stymied because you don’t have an advanced degree after your name. An MBA might be just what you need to move your career forward — but your undergrad major was English or poli-sci, and you don’t think you’re qualified for the program.
Well, surprise! Only about 34 percent of MBA candidates have backgrounds in business, business administration or economics. The overwhelming majority of MBA students have degrees in the humanities, liberal arts, sciences or technical fields. Much more than what you decided to major in when you were eighteen, business schools look at your experience since graduation and the qualities that you can bring to your program cohort.
An MBA is a versatile professional degree that prepares you for an advanced career or management position in any industry and therefore doesn’t require any one specific background. Rather than coursework that teaches theory and involves doing research, an MBA is focused on practical applications in a real-world setting. More students enter MBA programs than any other kind of graduate program for just that reason.
Sound good so far? Here are some facts you should know:
Getting an MBA
What qualifications do you need to do an MBA? Most admissions requirements for online masters programs include an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, and, if your degree isn’t in business, three or more years of relevant work experience. While your undergrad GPA is certainly considered, a modest one can be mitigated by a strong work record. In addition, admission decisions are influenced by what you write in your application statement and often also by personal references and recommendations.
Some schools do have pre-requisites in general accounting, statistics or finance, and you may have to complete courses in those subjects before entering an MBA program. Even if they’re not required, though, if you’re shaky in those areas you might find it helpful to brush up on the basic concepts, so you’re ready to jump in.
Career Possibilities With an MBA
With an MBA on your resume, you’re qualified for a wide number of positions in almost every industry. It all depends on what interests you and where you want your career to lead. Here are just a few of the options:
- Marketing manager: Marketing managers direct market research and design campaigns to create brand awareness, find new markets and drive increased customer demand for a company’s products and services. While market research analyst is another specialty, a marketing manager may do double duty analyzing the potential for new products in the marketplace.
- Business operations manager: The main focus of these managers is to determine and guide a company’s supply chain to run operations more efficiently and cost-effectively. Logistics manager may be another name for this position.
- HR manager: Human resources managers plan, coordinate and direct all the administrative roles of an organization. They are responsible for recruiting and hiring staff as well as administering compensation and benefits plans and employee relations programs.
- Project manager: A project manager, as the name implies, is responsible for planning and implementing projects and seeing them through as they evolve and progress to completion.
- Operations manager: An operations manager is responsible for general oversight, formulating policies, and managing the daily needs and operations of the organization. In smaller companies, the job may include managing human resources, purchasing, or other areas.
- Healthcare administrator: Typically employed in hospitals, other medical facilities and nursing homes, healthcare administrators are responsible for the planning, direction and coordination of medical services as well as compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
- Management consultant: As a full-time employee of a large consulting company or working as a self-employed advisor, management consultants provide advice to organizations, so they can increase efficiencies, reduce costs and enhance profitability. Management analyst is another term for what is essentially the same job.