When to Get an MBA for Maximum Career Success

by Benjamin Miller

Wondering when to get an MBA? For most, making the right decision on this topic revolves around maximizing career growth and success. Once considered a “must have” in business, the traditional MBA has evolved significantly in recent decades, and pursuing one no longer represents an “automatic win.” For that reason, today, deciding the best time to get an MBA requires much more consideration and strategy.

Ambitious business professionals today also have more options. Just as relevant questions include if you should get an MBA, and if so, what type? Once dominated by name brand institutions and universities, the continuing education space now offers new, more dynamic solutions for developing excellent business acumen, knowledge, and skills.

In this article, discover the key questions and considerations that should supplement anyone’s journey around deciding when to get an MBA and how to go about it.

Deciding When To Get An MBA? Step 1: Understand The Landscape

You’re far from the first to ask, “When should I get my MBA?”, and you’re wise to do some research. Pursuing your Master of Business Administration is no small decision. For those who are serious about getting an MBA, a great first step is to get a lay of the land. What are the best MBA options available today?

You’re likely familiar with some of the most well-known business schools. The Harvards, Standfords, and Yales of the world certainly come with a recognizable, name-brand polish. These traditional MBA programs typically take about two years to complete and come with a number of pros and cons as we’ll cover in the next section.

Any review of the modern MBA landscape would be incomplete without also mentioning the emergence of the mini MBA. Made possible by maximizing the online education experience, the mini MBA has emerged as a compelling alternative to the traditional MBA. Choosing between these two buckets—traditional MBA vs. mini MBA—is step one in deciding when to get an MBA and how you plan to go about doing it.

When to Get an MBA: 3 Key Considerations

The best time to get an MBA depends entirely on your own unique situation. And as we’ve covered, the type of MBA you choose to pursue is also a major variable in your decision. Here are three key considerations to take into account when deciding when and how to get an MBA.

1. Cost

For most people asking themselves, “When should I get my MBA?,” the first logical consideration is cost. There’s no two ways about it: Traditional MBAs cost an arm and a leg with most of the top programs in the US charging more than $200,000 for a degree.

Also worth noting is that these traditional programs often require students to leave the workforce and dedicate most (or all) of their time to school for two years. While of course there are benefits to such an immersive experience, this reality uncovers an additional cost on top of the $200,000: opportunity cost. In other words, for some, the traditional MBA also means a significant drop—or complete loss—of income for two years.

For those deciding, these cost considerations cannot be ignored. For a growing number of business professionals, a mini MBA like brunchwork’s Business Intensive is an attractive alternative. Designed to be manageable alongside a full time job and costing less than $2,000, Business Intensive offers a competitive curriculum at 1/100th of the cost.

2. Time Commitment

The best time to get an MBA also entirely depends on your availability. What kind of business program can you reasonably undertake when factoring in things like your work situation, family life, and passion projects?

Those with the availability and financial means to pursue a traditional MBA should consider themselves lucky! If that happens to be you, then perhaps a traditional MBA is the right choice. Two years of dedicated study is undoubtedly a valuable experience. But for a much larger majority, time commitment is a major factor—one that often presents logistical challenges.

A great mini MBA program gives students a robust curriculum designed to be consumed in months as opposed to years. Within the program itself, mini MBAs like Business Intensive are able to get more done in less time. From leveraging a virtual learning format, to highly relevant lesson topics, to educators who teach from real-world experience, Business Intensive packs a serious punch in far less time than legacy business programs.

3. Purpose

For a small percentage of the workforce, getting a traditional MBA is a prerequisite for career advancement. Some job descriptions—leadership roles in finance, for example—might require candidates to have a certain level of education. In this case, deciding when to get an MBA may coincide with a certain career milestone, and the traditional MBA route might be required.

Note that in the grand scheme of the workforce, the industries and roles that require a traditional MBA make up a small fraction. For most ambitious entrepreneurs, founders, managers, and even executives, career success will not be hindered by lacking a traditional MBA. To that end, a mini MBA can be a much more practical (and cost effective) route for those seeking professional development, new skills acquisition, and professional networking.

Business Intensive: Overview

If the benefits of a mini MBA are aligned with your desires for a manageable business program experience, here are some quick highlights on brunchwork’s Business Intensive program, which was recognized by Forbes as a top program.

Length: 2 months
Format: Online and in-person
Cost: Starting at $1,649

As long as you have the focus and drive to make the most of a well-balanced program for two months, there really is no wrong time to make the leap and start the Business Intensive. You could be maximizing career success through a mini MBA the moment you feel ready.

mba alternative

Forbes named the Business Intensive the top alternative to the MBA.

What You’ll Learn in Business Intensive

Business Intensive focuses on eight core business skills via co-learning projects that emphasize collaboration and networking. Example projects include:

• Refining and testing a business concept
• Creating a high-caliber presentation
•  Developing a business strategy
•  Crafting a marketing and sales plan
• Conducting user interviews
•  Building a no code website

Guest speakers have included high profile business leaders, like former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, PayPal Founding COO David Sacks, Ellevest Cofounder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck, product gurus Gayle Laakmann McDowell and Jackie Bavaro, and Peloton Cofounder, Graham Stanton.

Business Intensive was created to excel in areas where traditional higher learning falls short. For those thinking about an MBA now or sometime in the future, choosing the right program requires a holistic perspective. Today, it’s no longer just about the prestige and flash of a traditional business degree. Strategize accordingly!