Finding the ‘right’ MBA can be hard work. After doing the hard yards of scouring course descriptions, you want to feel confident that you’ve chosen the best MBA for your needs. After all, you’re making a big investment.
Before choosing an MBA, be sure to tick the following boxes.
- You’ve researched your program options: Are you choosing an MBA because it seems like a good addition to your CV — or after really thinking it over? It’s important to consider what an MBA involves and if it really is your next step. The traditional MBA has evolved to include a wide range of specialisations, double degrees and spin-offs, such as the more intensive executive programs (EMBAs). Certainly use the course search on this website and see what institutions have to say about their programs, but don’t forget to speak to graduates (colleagues and industry peers) for feedback on their experience. To see how programs compare on measures such as graduate outcomes, corporate links and staff experience, head to our MBA ratings.
- You’ve considered different providers: These days you’ll find management education across the higher education sector, with most universities and several smaller colleges providing at least one program (in fact, some of the latter operate almost exclusively in the business space). So, what’s right for you? It helps to consider what you want from an institution and where these needs might be met — is it the opportunity to learn from Australia’s top entrepreneurs, head overseas or take advantage of flexibility, like online study or CBD campuses?
- You’re at the right point in your life and career: While there isn’t necessarily a good or bad time to take on an MBA, it’s worth evaluating your circumstances and if you’re able to take full advantage of the program and its opportunities. If you have started a new role or want to make an abrupt change in your life, it may be best to wait until things are a little more stable. Also consider your stage in the career journey; if you’re fresh out of your undergraduate degree, it’s usually advised to gain some work experience first. Likewise, it’s important to have the support of those around you — your family, friends, employer and colleagues.
- You want career progression, not just a pay jump: Few people would decline a pay jump, but it shouldn’t be the only motivation for taking on an MBA. Also know that a move up the career ladder won’t be immediate — it may take some time to reap the benefits of your new qualification, particularly in today’s competitive job market.
- You’ve considered the costs and benefits: There’s a wide range of price tags on offer, but there’s no doubting that MBAs can get a little pricey. If you’re lucky, your employer may cover part or all of your program — typically with the expectation that you stick around and bring these skills back into the business. If you are covering the fees yourself, certainly the more common route, some courses can set you back as much as a house deposit. If you can access FEE-HELP (the federal government’s loan scheme for domestic students), this can make life a little easier. Just remember that there is lifetime borrowing limit (currently $99,389, with a higher allowance for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science). If you have already taken out a FEE-HELP loan, you will have exhausted some of this limit. Undergraduate fees deferred under HECS-HELP do not count towards this limit. If the benefits outweigh the costs, you’re one step closer to taking on an MBA.