When is the right time to pursue graduate study? Depending on your age, you may wonder if you're too old or too young to get started. Some common questions students who are thinking about getting their MBA may ask include:
- Will I have time to balance my family life with my studies?
- Can I continue to work while I'm in the program?
- Will I achieve a meaningful return on my investment?
- Should I wait until I've worked for a certain amount of time before going back to school?
- If my professional business experience is limited, am I a good fit for an MBA program?
These types of questions are totally normal, and just like no two students are the same, there is no one right answer as to when the perfect time to get your MBA is. While the median age of MBA students is 33 for online programs and 27 for on-campus programs, MBA students come from all walks of life and arrive in their programs at various points in their professional careers and lifespans.1 And nearly 20 percent of graduate students in 2020 are expected to be ages 35 and older.2
The great news is that online MBA programs today allow students to pursue a graduate degree no matter where they're located, and they can study on their own time while maintaining other responsibilities like full-time work or taking care of a family. An online MBA program allows those who are passionate about business to pursue their dreams, no matter where they are in life. As you're considering a possible journey to obtaining your MBA, use these questions to guide you to a decision you're confident about.
How Would I Use an MBA?
Students considering MBA programs know that earning their degree will require significant commitments of time and financial resources. Getting a substantial return on this investment makes the program more engaging and worthwhile. Students are a fit for online MBA programs if they:
- Are not currently working in the business world, but have their bachelor's degree and want to move into a thriving business career
- Are currently working in a business profession but feel stagnant—they want to have the credentials to move up in their company or apply for a role with more responsibilities somewhere else
- Want to earn more than they're currently making, because MBA graduates typically make more than those with bachelor's degrees or lower3
- Aspire to attain executive positions or start their own companies
Your life is your own design. No matter how old you are, it is never too late to change course in search of better professional circumstances. Just because you've been on a certain career path does not mean you should be limited to that forever.
What Are My Thoughts About School?
Online MBA programs include homework, studying, group work, taking tests and being evaluated on performance. While school and work may seem like separate realms, much of what is completed in an MBA program can benefit one's work professionally. Consider these comparisons:
- Working in a group to complete a project in an online MBA program gives you the skills you need to effectively lead a team at work
- Taking feedback from a professor and turning it into a better assignment submission increases your capability to handle feedback from employers and integrate it into work
- Negotiating a complex schedule with multiple deadlines helps MBA grads maintain work-life balance and better handle a variety of demands in the workplace
Online MBA students must use technology to participate in group work, take in lectures and complete and submit projects. This type of school environment, structured through a digital interface, can help students excel in a tech-based corporate environment after graduation.
Online MBA programs are also highly collaborative, which makes learning from peers and professors a stimulating, interactive experience. Older students are valued in this process, as they get to share their experience, while younger students reap the benefits of learning from professionals from a diverse array of industries. No matter where you are in life, working with diverse students from around the globe can improve your educational experience.
What Higher Education Programs Fit Best With My Life?
If you have the yearning to attain a higher degree, choosing the right program can make the experience more enjoyable and successful for you. In-classroom study requires relocating to the campus area. You'll have to arrange transportation to campus, you'll have to leave your family and friends when you move, and you might have to quit your job if it doesn't allow you to work remotely.
Online MBA programs afford their students the ability to study from anywhere. This flexible schedule can allow older students to more easily balance being a parent or a caretaker or work full-time in conjunction with their studies. Younger students who want to get a head start on their careers while studying can also do so with an online MBA program.
Get More Information About Online MBA Programs
No matter what age you are, obtaining an MBA can lead to positions with more responsibility and greater pay. Getting involved with an MBA program also gives students the ability to network with others from around the globe, learn from those with a wide variety of professional experience and gain the confidence they need to apply for positions they want.
The KU School of Business welcomes online MBA students from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and experiences.
1. Retrieved on February 14, 2018, from usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/articles/2017-05-23/us-news-data-the-average-online-mba-student
2. Retrieved on February 14, 2018, from nbcnews.com/business/business-news/back-school-older-students-rise-college-classrooms-n191246
3. Retrieved on February 14, 2018, from gmac.com/why-gmac/gmac-news/gmnews/2015/august-2015/gmac-salary-estimator-tool.aspx