How Much Experience Is Required for an MBA?

Deciding to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree is a big step! Once you’ve made this decision, keep in mind that it is better to complete your MBA after you have acquired relevant experience. How many years of experience you need before that MBA varies, though, so here are a few tips to guide you in figuring out what type and how much work experience you need for an MBA.

Do You Need Work Experience to Get an MBA?

You will need at least two years of work experience for an MBA program. Most MBA programs typically require between two to four years of work experience in order to apply (the average student enters with about five years of professional experience). Some of the top business schools can even require up to seven years.

Why Do MBA Programs Require Work Experience?

This type of on-the-job experience is important because students with relevant professional experience are typically better prepared for the curriculum, more confident, and more proactive in their academic experience.

Occasionally,  applicants in the accelerated MBA program at Augsburg University may petition to waive the MBA 520 accounting course if they have passed the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA). Having prior work experience also helps MBA applicants develop clear expectations on what they need out of the program.

Especially in a program such as ours, which takes only 26 months, there isn’t a lot of time for students to waste in exploring their aspirations like they might’ve during undergraduate studies. Incoming MBA students are focused and enjoy the cohort model because of the interaction between students based on their work experience. Being equipped with relevant experience will also enhance the program experience, providing the student with the appropriate knowledge to actively participate in course discussions, enabling real-world applications, and guiding smarter choices in electives and other program requirements.

How Much Work Experience Do You Need for an MBA?

Although there are specialized programs that do not require it, it is better to have work experience for MBA admissions. How many years of experience do you need before an MBA? The average expectation is about two to three years, but there are people who have been accepted to MBA programs with little work experience. The specific amount of time varies by school and program.

  • MBA with two years of work experience: Being admitted to an MBA with two years of experience represents the minimum work experience for many MBA programs. There are some specialized programs for newly graduated students with at least two years of work experience under their belt. These will be some of the most basic (i.e., not highly specialized) MBA degrees.
  • MBA with three years of work experience: Applying for an MBA after three years of experience can open up more opportunities for specialized coursework like finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
  • MBA with five years of work experience: Pursuing an MBA after five years of experience allows for a much stronger chance of being admitted to a specialized MBA program. If your professional experience is in managerial work, then you become eligible for executive MBA (EMBA) programs, which can offer greater flexibility in workload and allow for full-time work during the program.
  • MBA with eight years of work experience: This may seem like a lot, but an MBA after eight years of experience is ideal for the highest-caliber business schools, specifically for full-time programs. Many people worry that eight to 10 years is too much to be an appealing applicant to MBA programs, but do not fret—this is exceptional business school work experience! You will have greater access to highly specialized, accelerated programs that can be finished in as little as one year.

How Much Work Experience Is Required for an Executive MBA?

Executive MBA work experience requirements will typically be five or more years—but not just any kind of work experience. Having a professional role in managerial work is ideal for admission into an MBA program. Although an EMBA program is not dramatically different from an MBA, an EMBA student will likely be able to maintain a full-time job during the program and may even be able to work at a faster pace than they would in a typical MBA program. Are you interested in this? Learn more about the differences between standard MBAs and executive MBA programs.

What Kind of Work Experience Is Required for an MBA?

The quality of your work experience is just as important as the quantity, if not more so. The best work experience for your MBA depends on your particular career interests and aspirations. Does part time count as work experience for an MBA? It’s possible; however, experience as an accountant, for example, will carry a heavier weight in the admission process than a part time job like cashiering at a mom-and-pop business.

Does an Internship Count As Work Experience for an MBA?

Important things to keep in mind about potentially using your internship as your work experience when applying for an MBA are that, generally, many internships are unpaid positions and so may not qualify for formal, professional experience. (You can expect the same when planning to apply for an MBA with volunteer experience.) They are also typically short-lived, so you will have to rack up more than one internship experience to meet the average minimum work experience for MBA requirements.

Assuming that your position was in a reputable institution, or at least one that is directly relevant to your career goals, a part-time position does count as work experience. However, using a part-time role as your MBA work experience means that you may need more years under your belt to match that of a full-time position.

The bottom line is: Don’t get caught up in an extended internship commitment before you start wondering, Should I get work experience before applying to an MBA? Get started and complete it as early as you can. The sooner, the better.

Best Work Experience for an MBA

The best work experience for your MBA is that which is directly related to your projected curriculum. If you are aiming for an MBA program in finance, you may want to have experience as an accountant, finance manager, or analyst. Additionally, you want to make sure that your work experience is in a reputable institution so that you have strong references and a quality start to your professional reputation.

A few examples of some of the most promising fields to get involved in for your MBA education are finance, marketing, and data analytics.

Before you begin the process of applying to an MBA program, make sure to organize your business and academic goals to compose the best application you can. Do as much research in advance as you can to prepare your professional route and then narrow down what type of work experience will be best for the program you choose.

Lastly, remember that you can begin planning to apply to an MBA program after two years of work experience, but your chances of acceptance will increase with more work experience.

Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

Deciding to acquire a Master of Business Administration degree is exciting and often nerve-wracking. Whether you’re looking to develop business skills, pursue a specific career opportunity, or strike out on your own and start a business, an MBA is a valuable asset. One aspect of acquiring an MBA that is often overwhelming is the cost.

You’ve done your research. You have ferreted out which MBA program is tailored to your individual skill set. But as you eagerly dunk your toes into the wide ocean of higher learning and begin the application process, you are unceremoniously saddled with an application fee.

You stop short, stymied. How much does it cost to get your MBA? Is this something you can afford? Will your dreams be devoured by a lack of funds? Thoroughly understanding the breakdown of the expenses involved in getting an MBA and exploring different ways to cover those costs can provide clarity and direction.

The total cost of studying for an MBA in the United States is influenced by many factors. Tuition is only one of many expenses comprising the overall cost of an MBA. Many MBA students work part-time or not at all while pursuing an MBA, so it’s important to factor in living expenses. Additionally, most programs—at both private and public institutions—charge additional fees for registration and technology use. Transportation must also be taken into account when determining the MBA total cost. Bearing this in mind, getting an MBA may be more costly than it might first appear.

MBA Average Cost

How much does an MBA cost on average? The cost of getting an MBA can range from $25,000 to upwards of $100,000, though the average cost is about $60,000. This large range is due to several factors. Will you be attending a school in state, out of state, or online? Is the university public or private? What fees are associated with the cost of an MBA? While the average cost of an MBA may vary from school to school, the types of fees required do not. Each of these variables must be considered when determining the average cost of an MBA in the United States.

Tuition Fees for an MBA in the United States

The advertised cost of tuition is often lower than the actual cost. Advertised costs generally only calculate tuition and don’t include additional expenses such as application and MBA course fees. Additionally, the cost of course books and boarding expenses are not included.

MBA Course Fees Details

Many diverse fees contribute to the total cost of acquiring an MBA in American colleges and universities. An application fee, registration fee, technology fee, and deposit are all required before admittance into a program. The fee structure for an MBA in the United States should be taken into account when considering the overall cost of MBA programs.

Application and Registration Fees

Application and registration costs are two fees involved in acquiring an MBA that are often isolated from the cost of tuition. The application fee goes toward the cost of reviewing your application for admission. The application fee is typically less than $300, although it can vary based on the specific school. Registration fees are incurred when registering for classes and are required during each class enrollment period. These fees are used by the school to cover the operational costs of the registration process.

Technology Fee and Deposit

A technology fee is another component of an MBA degree cost. The technology fee is used for WiFi, computers, and other technological software and hardware. Depending on the institution, this fee may be charged on a semester basis or based on credit hours. Even in online MBA programs, the cost of technology is often unavoidable as an internet connection upgrade or new laptop may be necessary.

A deposit is yet another often overlooked cost that is part of obtaining an MBA. A deposit is usually required upon admittance into an MBA program. The deposit secures the student’s place in class and is nonrefundable. The cost typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

Other MBA Fees and Hidden Costs

An MBA program cost includes numerous lesser-known fees and hidden expenses. These additional expenses may be necessary to cover the cost of participation in clubs and events or transportation. The following are some relatively obscure fees that are associated with an MBA program.

  • Health fee: A health fee provides students with various health services. It is often charged regardless of whether a student lives on or off campus.
  • Boarding: Monthly rent or mortgage payments should be budgeted when planning for MBA expenses. If attending an MBA program requires relocation, additional costs are incurred.
  • Club dues: Those enrolled in an MBA program may join clubs or other organizations. Most clubs have mandatory dues required for participation.
  • Transportation: Driving or taking public transportation to campus, internships, and other events are unavoidable when obtaining an MBA. A transit pass, gas, and parking are necessary expenses.
  • Graduation fee: Students planning to participate in the commencement ceremony upon completion of the MBA program will need to pay a fee.

Ways to Cover the Cost of an MBA

The cost of acquiring an MBA isn’t cheap. However, do not despair—students can procure an MBA without going broke. There are several different ways students can cover their MBA program costs. Graduate students looking to continue their education may consider applying for a scholarship, grant, or fellowship. Others may be able to seek assistance from their employers.

Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded to students based on specific criteria. They are often career-specific. They’re funded by businesses, colleges, and other organizations. Some scholarships are specific to minority groups, women, or military personnel. Others may be awarded for academic or athletic achievements.

Grants

Grants are another resource for subsidizing the cost of an MBA in U.S. institutions. The types of grants are diverse. Some are based on financial need and others are merit-based. Merit-based grants may be awarded to students by universities for a variety of reasons, including academic achievement or work in the community.

Fellowships

Fellowships are another way to fund MBA expenses. A fellowship is typically awarded to graduate students continuing their education or research in a specific field. This type of funding doesn’t always cover tuition costs but it can fund other activities, such as internships and projects. Fellowships are competitive and are often awarded for academic achievements.

Employer-Sponsored Tuition Programs

Students may be able to seek assistance from their employers. Many employers offer full or partial reimbursement of MBA costs. Tuition programs benefit the employer by helping retain skilled workers, and employees can pursue their careers within the company as their skills and knowledge grow.

Prepare to handle MBA costs and earn a degree to enhance your career. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

7 Tips for Writing a Great MBA Personal Statement

A successful MBA personal statement shows the applicant’s potential to be a great leader. Writing such an essay may seem like a daunting task, but if you abide by the following guidelines, your essay will stand a much better chance of impressing the admissions officers.

MBA Essay Tip #1: Focus on Relevant Experience

You may have demonstrated incredible leadership skills when you were the star catcher on your high school’s baseball team, but an MBA program is an entirely different playing field. Admissions officers want to see more recent accomplishments. Spotlight the professional achievements you’ve had since high school: internships, fellowships, and even entry-level jobs can show off your capabilities without wading into the warm fuzzies of nostalgia.

MBA Essay Tip #2: Tie Past Experiences to Future Goals

The summer you spent mucking stalls at a horse farm might have given you a great opportunity to test your resilience and bravery. However, admissions officers might not be interested in reading about how you held onto a rearing horse unless you plan to launch an equine-related venture. Choose your anecdotes carefully and be sure they tell a story about who you are and where you want to go in life.

Because many internships are unpaid, they often go to people of higher socioeconomic status who can afford to work without pay. If you haven’t had a prestigious internship or post-college work that ties directly to your future goals, don’t be discouraged. Ask yourself what you learned from these experiences. Admissions officers will want to know how these experiences led you to this point.

MBA Essay Tip #3: Absolutely No Cutting and Pasting

You might think you’re saving time by cutting and pasting information from your résumé into your MBA personal statement, but doing so will cost you in the long run. Admissions already has your résumé—they wouldn’t ask for a personal statement if they wanted a rehash of of it. The essay is your chance to dive into the specifics of those experiences and show how they made you who you are today.

Repurposing material from old essays is never a good idea. Admissions officers can tell when something isn’t fresh, and it just makes you look lazy. Lastly, cutting and pasting increases the odds that you’ll forget to make an important change. If you paste an essay you wrote for another school and forget to change the school’s name, it’s extremely off-putting to the admissions committee. Imagine if the person you are dating sends you a message, only in place of your name they’ve carelessly used someone else’s. Avoid committing this same faux pas in your MBA personal statement essay.

MBA Essay Tip #4: State Your Goals

MBA programs want students who are driven. Tell the committee what you hope to accomplish after you graduate with your MBA. Explain which concentration you’ll be pursuing—finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, or business analytics—and why. For example, if your long-term career goal is to start a small business, you should let the committee know that you plan on making entrepreneurship your concentration. To really make a splash with your personal statement, explain how this particular school or program is a good fit for you.

MBA Essay Tip #5: Do You

As the actor Will Rogers is supposed to have said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

In this case, your personal statement is the first impression you will make on the admissions committee. Don’t fill it with buzzwords and cliches. The committee does not want to read about how you “efficiently sourced materials that contributed to the overall synergy of the team.” They’ll know you really mean you were fast at getting coffee and they won’t be impressed.

Your essay needs to be a reflection of who you are and what you’ll contribute to the program. Don’t read someone else’s essay and then twist yourself in knots to make yours the same. It will come off as inauthentic. Remember, MBA programs are all about leadership. The strongest leaders are honest and unapologetically themselves. Be who you are, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be.

MBA Essay Tip #6: No Excuses

There is a difference between excuses and facts. “I couldn’t do my coursework because my grandmother got sick and I had to take care of her” is an excuse. That your grandmother got sick is fact. That you didn’t do your coursework is another. But is it really a fact that you couldn’t do your coursework because she got sick? It may very well be. But the committee will look far more favorably upon it if you take responsibility and write, “I devoted less time to my coursework so that I could care for my ailing grandmother.” This way, the committee won’t have to wonder whether you are stretching the truth or whether you will find other reasons not to do coursework in the future.

It may seem unfair to have to take ownership of something that isn’t entirely in your control. You may feel like you are admitting wrongdoing. However, in most cases the opposite is true. By taking responsibility, you are showing the committee that you have integrity. You will show the committee that you’ll reflect well on the university and they’ll be excited to have you as a student.

If you need to supply a GPA explanation with your MBA application, keep these things in mind. If your GPA fell below 3.0, you do not need to make apologies for that. Simply make the committee aware of what was going on at the time, sticking as closely to the facts as possible.

MBA Essay Tip #7: Edit, Edit, Edit

The internet loves to poke fun at brands when they misspell words or leave grammatical errors in their copy. However, it’s not so funny when you’re the person who made the mistake and has to answer for it. Forgetting to edit makes companies look careless and lazy—this is not the impression you want to make in your MBA personal essay. Make sure there are no typos, missing words, run-on sentences, or misplaced apostrophes. An ideal candidate for an MBA program knows that professionalism is in the details.

Are you ready to write your personal essay and advance your career with an MBA? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

How to Pay for Your MBA

You’ve submitted your test scores. You’ve written your MBA personal statement. You’ve received your letter of acceptance. Now, one important question remains: How will you pay for your MBA? By following these three simple steps, you can make a worry-free investment in your business degree:

  1. Search for scholarships and other awards.
  2. Apply for federal student loans.
  3. Look into privately funded student loans.

Step 1: Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants

The best way to fund your education is with money that you won’t have to repay. Scholarships can drastically reduce or even eliminate the amount of debt you’ll have after you graduate. There are a wide range of MBA scholarships available to students like you. You may qualify for several scholarships. The more effort you put into applying for financial aid, the more likely you will be to win one or possibly more. Some students have financed their entire degree programs with scholarship money. It just takes some extra work.

Career-Specific MBA Scholarships

As an MBA candidate, you likely already have a specific career path in mind. A smart way to finance your business degree is to find scholarships specific to your line of work. Some examples include:

  • The FEMC Richard Metzler Scholarship is awarded to students who are committed to entering management consulting careers.
  • Government Finance Officers Association Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship is available to students who intend to work in government finance at the state or local levels.
  • If you’ve ever owned your own lawn care business, you could receive a $1,000 scholarship from the LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship.

MBA Scholarships for Women

There are many organizations committed to strengthening inclusion and equity by helping women advance their educations and careers.

  • American Association of University Women Career Development Grants are available to women who are committed to elevating their careers or re-entering the workforce.
  • AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships are available to women of color who are in their second year of study.
  • Angela Dipietro Women in Business Scholarship

MBA Scholarships for People of Color, Immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ People

If you are a member of a federally protected minority group, there are a number of scholarships that are available to you. Below are just a few examples.

  • The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is available to students who are permanent residents, naturalized citizens, or children of naturalized citizens.
  • If you are a tribal-enrolled Native American, you are eligible for The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Scholarship.
  • African American students who have been accepted into a master’s-level business program are eligible for National Association of Black Accountants National Scholarship Program.
  • Openly LGBTQIA+ students may qualify for Point Foundation Scholarships.
  • The Award for Excellence in Business Commentary National Essay Competition is open to African American students who are currently enrolled in MBA programs.
  • The Association of Latino Professionals Annual Scholarship Program is open to ALPFA members who are of Hispanic heritage.

MBA Scholarships for Military Personnel

If you are a veteran, reservist, or active duty, you may qualify for scholarships reserved for candidates with military experience.

  • Tillman Military Scholars Program scholarships are available to veterans, active duty military personnel, and their spouses who are enrolled in full-time MBA programs.
  • Veterans who are U.S. citizens demonstrating financial need may qualify for AMVETS National Scholarship Program awards.
  • Fleet Reserve Association scholarships are available to those who are serving or have served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, or U.S. Coast Guard.
  • The Katherine F. Gruber Scholarship is sponsored by the Blinded Veterans Association and is available to active duty military personnel as well as the children, grandchildren, and spouses of blinded veterans.

Grants

Augsburg University offers a partnership grant that helps local businesses develop their employees’ talents while allowing students to save money.

If you are employed by one of our partner institutions when you enroll in our MBA program, you will receive a tuition discount of $80 per credit.

Augsburg alumni, AmeriCorps/Lutheran Volunteer Corps volunteers, and military personnel are also eligible for $80-per-credit discounts.

Step 2: Applying for Federal Financial Aid

To determine whether federal financial aid can help you pay for your MBA, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Types of federal financial aid include:

  • Federal Direct Loans: You may borrow up to $20,000 in fixed-rate unsubsidized student loans from the federal government. Federal Direct Loans are what used to be referred to as Stafford loans.
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loans: Though these credit-based federal loans come with higher interest rates than Federal Direct Loans, the Graduate PLUS loan is a good option if you have a healthy credit score and need additional funds.
  • School-based aid: Many Augsburg students qualify for Federal Work-Study programs and find on-campus employment that helps them with living expenses.
  • State aid: Augsburg University is a participant in the Minnesota State Grant program. Your FAFSA will tell you whether or not you qualify for financial aid via the state of Minnesota.

Step 3: Financing Your MBA with Private Loans

Private loans can help you fill in the gaps that remain after you have exhausted your scholarship search and received your federal financial award letters. Repayment terms for private loans may be less flexible than terms for federal loans. Private loans often come with higher interest rates.

There is a reason why private loans are last on this list. It is imperative that you borrow conservatively. Do not borrow more than you will need for tuition or living expenses, and consider how much you can expect to earn after you graduate. Responsible borrowing is one way to ensure that your MBA is a sound financial investment.

Deferring Undergraduate Loans

While you are enrolled in the MBA program, you may choose to defer your undergraduate student loan payments. This will help you keep your expenses low while you focus on your studies.

Tuition Reimbursement

Many companies will offer tuition reimbursement to their employees. Be sure to let your employer know that you are pursuing your business degree and find out if you can be reimbursed for tuition expenses.

Paying for a master’s degree program may seem like an overwhelming task, but remember that a little bit of savvy and effort go a long way. Choosing the right payment strategy can leave you in excellent financial health after you graduate.

Get more perspective on how to get an MBA and prepare for your next career move. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

Outside-the-Box MBA Books Students Need to Read

Whether you’re rushing to your next class, hidden under stacks of homework, or schmoozing at the latest networking function, being an MBA student is a significant time commitment. The only guarantee that comes with earning an MBA is that there will be a lot to learn and even more to do in order to successfully complete your program.

We get it. The last thing you need is an extensive list of voluntary MBA books to read while you’re preparing to apply or smack dab in the middle of your degree. Well, get used to it. However, there are plenty of people who have been in your shoes and can provide the tips, tricks, and perspective you need to make it to graduation.

But, bear in mind, we’re not talking about the classics. Save your copy of Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and disregard “MBAs for Dummies.” We enlisted the help of professors, business professionals, and MBA-holders to bring you a list of outside-the-box MBA books you can’t afford to miss.

MBA Books That Define Leadership

Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Author: Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of people relations at Google

Why it made the list: “One of the biggest challenges companies undergoing transformations face relates to the hiring and retention of employees,” says Carlos Castelán, Harvard MBA grad and managing director of The Navio Group. “One of the companies that has pioneered human capital management is Google and ‘Work Rules!’ provides fascinating insights from the former SVP of People Operations at Google that show how the company succeeded in building perhaps the world’s greatest collection of talent.”

What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School

Author: Mark H. McCormack, attorney, sports agent, author, and founder of IMG

Why it made the list: “Although getting an MBA is a lot about the theory behind management and leadership, you rarely ever read or get trained in actual leadership situations,” says Shruti Pangtey, founder of IndianGirling and DigitalEmpires. “This book takes you through the reality of being an actual leader from an experienced leader. The way negotiation and meetings are discussed in the book makes you reassess interpersonal communication.

Shoe Dog

Author: Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike

Why it made the list: The notoriously shy Nike co-founder shares a rare and revealing glimpse into a man who borrowed $50 from his father to launch a company that, today, is globally recognized and generates over $50 billion annually,” says D’vorah Graeser, MBA-holder and founder and CEO of KISSPatent. “But, even more important than his tireless and hard-working attitude, one of the greatest takeaways is his unique management approach, completely abstaining from micromanaging and favoring his own personal style: Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

MBA Books That Inspire Action

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author: Simon Sinek, author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant

Why it made the list: “[Sinek] shows how successful leaders throughout history have been able to inspire their organizations to achieve greatness by identifying the underlying motivation,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls. “It is a compelling book to show how great leaders become influential when they can answer why they do what they do and connect with people on an emotional level.”

Let My People Go Surfing

Author: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Why it made the list: “This book is everything. [It] provides a manual on how to build a company built on empathy for employees, customers, and the planet,” says Sam White, MBA-holder and marketing manager at Del Mar Jiu-Jitsu Club “It’s a beautiful story of how a wildly successful company can be built on principles other than maximizing shareholder wealth—a topic that will be drilled into the heads of MBA students.”

Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

Authors: Leonard A. Schlesinger, Charles F. Kiefer, and Paul B. Brown

Why it made our list: “Business school is more than just figuring out how to do financial statements and writing business plans,” says Russ Nauta, owner of creditcardreviews.com. “To succeed in business school and business in general, you need to be able to identify opportunities and quickly act to test viability.”

MBA Books That Question Capitalism

Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank

Author: Phillip L. Zweig, award-winning investigative reporter and author

Why it made the list: “All MBA[-holder]s and their companies are affected either by bubbles in their industries or bubbles in the economy. Learning how to exercise independent judgment and spot bubbles is a skill that can’t be taught but should be mastered,” says Donald E. Petersen, consumer protection attorney and MBA-holder. “Market exuberance, Penn Square’s loose underwriting standards, and four major banks bidding up the market for these loans created a bubble which … burst with a resounding crash when energy prices decreased in the early 1980s.”

The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression

Author: Peter Joseph, independent filmmaker and activist

Why it made the list: “This book is the anti-MBA. That is, the essential and unquestioned foundation of every MBA program is capitalism. Any challenge of capitalism would be heretical,” says Laura Snyder, international member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. “This book challenges capitalism by explaining its role in perpetuating the biggest problems society faces today: inequality, social alienation and depression, environmental degradation, war …” If after reading this book you still want to do an MBA then you definitely should do one because you are clearly and staunchly committed to its underlying principles.”

MBA Books That Teach Business Savvy

Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs

Author: Norm Brodsky, author and veteran entrepreneur

Why it made the list: “You’ll get plenty of theory in your MBA program and plenty of high-level, birds-eye analysis. This book isn’t that; instead, it focuses on building a business from the ground up, starting with the most essential part: knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers well, you’re not really in business—you’re playing at business,” says Julia Kelly, co-founder of Rigits Bookkeeping & Accounting.

WHO: The A Method for Hiring

Author: Geoff Smart, author, and founder of leadership consulting firm ghSMART

Why it made the list: “The book provides a valuable framework for building a team and defining roles and objectives,” says Bethany Babcock, MBA-holder and founder and CEO of Foresite Commercial Real Estate. “Building a team is the most important part of starting or running a business as it is the only way to expand a person’s reach beyond their own individual capabilities.”

The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu, military general, tactician, writer, and philosopher

Why it made the list: “This book is helpful to get you thinking about strategy as well as how to use information when thinking about career moves in business,” says Sandra Mohr, academic resources dean at New England College of Optometry. “A couple of key takeaways from this book are to know your strengths and weaknesses, understand and know yourself and the enemy, and know when to fight and not fight—key lessons to use in business and in life in general.”

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know

Author: Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author, speaker, and podcast host

Why it made the list: “Leaders have to communicate well to their followers,” says Augsburg University MBA Program Director George Dierberger. “In his latest book, Gladwell’s premise is that humans ‘default to truth’—that is, we tend to take on face value the things people tell us, even if we should know better. It is good to trust but better to validate and research the truth of complex issues.”

Get personalized MBA book recommendations and prepare for your next career move. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

What Are the Different MBA Specializations and Which One is Right For Me?

It’s decided: getting an MBA is your next step toward advancing your career in the business world. But you’re still not sure about which is the best MBA specialization for you. What’s the difference between the MBA specializations that are available, and which one will set you on the right career trajectory?

“A traditional MBA was created to train the corporate middle managers. If you have something else in mind, it may not be a bad idea to explore something more focused,” says Peter MacDonald, co-founder of Wunderite. His business partner Joe Schnare agrees, saying that students who choose a specialty are often more appealing to top employers than those who pursue a general MBA.

An instructor and student stand in front of an MBA classroom.

Specialized MBA programs offer in-depth knowledge in a single area of business, which can help you catapult your career by proving to employers that you’re serious about your career path and that you have the skills they’re looking for.

Take a look at this rundown of MBA concentrations to choose from. Keep your career goals in mind as you weigh your options and determine the best MBA specialization for you.

7 MBA specializations aspiring grad students should consider

1. Finance

This MBA specialization has a long reputation of helping finance professionals advance their careers in this competitive field. “An MBA with a finance emphasis gives you a deeper toolkit that is highly valuable if you’re interested in advancing your career in accounting, financial planning, or similar fields,” says Brad Plothow, vice president of marketing and communications at Womply.

Finance is a popular field for earning an MBA, with ONET reporting that 35% of financial analysts require a master’s degree. Earning a general MBA won’t give you much of an edge in this competitive environment, but pursuing a finance specialization will give you career-specific skills like financial reporting and forecasting, financial management, and corporate finance. Choosing to specialize in finance shows that you’re serious about moving up in your career and gives you the job-specific skills employers are looking for.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Go for a finance MBA if you’re serious about a career track in financial analysis or planning, stock market analysis, investment banking, or even accounting. “Some MBAs with a finance emphasis actually prepare you to sit for the CPA exam at the end, which is an efficient path to accelerating your career on multiple dimensions,” Plothow says.

2. Marketing

Many entry-level marketing positions are open to candidates who whose highest education is an undergraduate degree, and some marketing professionals pivot into the field from other careers with no formal training at all. Rather than making a marketing MBA specialization superfluous, this workforce landscape opens up advancement opportunities for those who are willing to put in the work by earning this specialized master’s degree.

Payscale reports that marketing professionals with a specialized MBA earn an average of $89,000 per year, compared to the $65,000 annual salary available to marketers with a bachelor’s degree. Specialized MBA holders also have opportunities to move quickly up the career ladder into management and director-level positions.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Holding a specialized MBA in marketing can immediately set you apart from other job candidates. A marketing MBA specialization is worth considering if you want the possibility of a fast track to upper-level management positions in the marketing field.

3. Economics

Economists are concerned with gathering data about and doing research on economic topics, then advising businesses or governments about actions to take or concerns to be aware of regarding economic issues. The majority of economist positions require an advanced degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with just a handful of entry-level jobs available to those with an undergraduate degree.

Economics is a specialized field, so it stands to reason that employees benefit from having a specialized degree. Students in an economics specialization are trained in advanced micro- and macroeconomics, as well as monetary policy and the basics of business operations.

Why choose this MBA specialization: It’s clear that a master’s degree is the bare minimum when it comes to most economist positions, especially if you want to advance beyond an entry- level job. Pursuing an economics specialization may be right for you if you want the opportunity to make a change in economic policy and you enjoy digging into research and analysis.

4. Data analytics

Managing and using big data is a top concern at companies both inside and outside of the tech industry. An MBA specialization in data analytics prepares students to collect, organize, and analyze data in the booming data science field with focused courses in areas like modeling, SQL, and the ethics of data analysis.

“I’m hearing that a short, analytics-focused MBA helps propel candidates to their next career,” says MacDonald, whose own MBA specialization is in data analytics. A joint report by Burning Glass and IBM shares that 39% of data scientists and advanced analyst positions require a master’s degree or higher, but these positions are difficult to hire for due to a lack of qualified candidates.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Data analytics is a rapidly growing field, especially in the finance, IT, professional services, and insurance industries. With corporations actively looking to fill gaps in data science positions, this MBA specialization gives you the education and skill set you need to step into one of these roles.

5. IT management

IT managers, or information systems managers, are in charge of everything related to computers and technology at an organization. Depending on the organization, IT managers could find themselves reporting to C-level executives and managing large teams of people, along with incorporating new and existing technology into the company.

Upper-level IT careers like this come with salaries in the range of $142,000, according to the BLS, which also reports that many organizations require their technology managers to have a graduate degree. With courses in areas like digital management, enterprise architecture, e- commerce, and data management, this MBA specialization prepares students for the critical projects they’ll be responsible for as IT managers with business chops.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Many people work their way into IT management after starting in entry-level technology positions, but an MBA specialization in IT can help you take your tech career to the management level more quickly—and even to C-level positions like chief information officer if that’s your goal.

6. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are often thought of as the business world’s savvy risk-takers, using self-taught skills to bootstrap their start-up companies. Though earning an MBA in entrepreneurship might seem counterintuitive, Schnare shares that this MBA specialization offers learning opportunities that benefit both students who want to build their own company and those pursuing a traditional corporate career.

“What I found by focusing on entrepreneurship is that classes in this specialty teach students how to innovate and implement change, which are skills big companies are looking for in their workforce today,” Schnare says. Students with an entrepreneurship concentration can expect to gain skills in entrepreneurial finance, business trends, valuation, and venture capital.

Why choose this MBA specialization: The courses you’ll encounter in an entrepreneurship MBA specialization will give you in-depth knowledge of how to navigate the murky waters of running a new business. This isn’t a skill every businessperson has, making this an MBA specialization worth considering for anyone with dreams of building their own company from the ground up. Students with a focus on entrepreneurship can also put their skills to use working for a start-up company or a long-standing organization that’s pivoting or expanding their business model.

7. Management consulting

Management consultants, sometimes called management analysts, work with organizations to improve efficiency and boost profitability. ONET reports that 46% of consultants are in positions that require a master’s degree, and it’s not hard to see why. Companies entrust consultants with their day-to-day business operations, and it’s critical that these management analysts have the business acumen to provide good advice.

An MBA specialization in consulting offers students in-depth knowledge of high-level business operations and strategy that go beyond the lessons of a general MBA. This specialization shows consulting firms, and the organizations they work with, that you can confidently direct them toward stronger business strategies in your role as a management consultant.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Consulting is the ultimate career goal for many aspiring MBA students. If you’re one of them, this specialization can show that you’re qualified to be a management analyst, even if you don’t have decades of business experience under your belt.

Choosing your MBA specialization

Now you can use this breakdown of MBA specializations, along with weighing your interests and your career goals, to determine the best MBA specialization for you.

Once you’ve decided on the specialization you want to pursue, check out Augsburg’s MBA opportunities to see how to make it work for you.

GRE vs. GMAT: What Are They and Which One Should I Take?

Choosing to attend grad school was a big decision, and now you’re faced with another choice: “Should I take the GMAT or GRE?” You need to take one or the other to be admitted to a master’s degree program, but how do you know which test is best for your situation?

Much like taking the ACT or SAT before applying to undergrad, the GRE and GMAT share some similarities. Both tests are timed and are divided into sections with a focus on reasoning and analytical writing. Scores are valid for five years after taking each test, and many schools accept both tests. Many institutions, like Augsburg University, do not require the GMAT or GRE, but they may require you to complete MBA math modules in its place.

MBA student in an Augsburg University classroomHowever, there are some key differences between the GRE and GMAT. It’s up to you to determine which test is right for you and your graduate school goals, especially if you’re preparing to get a Master of Business Administration degree from a quality university. We’re taking a deep dive into the difference between the GRE and GMAT so you’ll have all the information you need to make the best decision and start your grad school journey on the right foot.

What is the GRE?

The GRE—which stands for Graduate Record Examination—can be used to apply to most types of graduate schools, including some business and law schools. It’s a general test that sets you up for the grad school admissions process even if you haven’t decided which degree to pursue yet.

GRE sections

The GRE is broken into three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Each section is timed separately, with the entire GRE taking about three hours and 45 minutes.

These sections are designed to measure your general ability in each area. Verbal reasoning focuses on reading comprehension and your ability to interpret and draw conclusions about an author’s perspective. Quantitative reasoning measures your ability to interpret data and complete mathematical problem-solving. Analytical writing uses two essays to measure your critical thinking skills and how well you can express your ideas through writing.

GRE scoring

Verbal and quantitative reasoning are each scored on a scale of 130 to 170, while analytical writing is scored in half-point increments on a scale of zero to six. Some multiple choice questions require more than one answer, but there’s no partial credit if you get one answer right and another wrong.

The scores from each section are recorded separately rather than as a cumulative number. The GRE reports the average verbal reasoning score is 150, quantitative analysis is 152, and analytical writing is 3.5.

GRE tips

Tip #1: Skip difficult questions. The GRE is taken on a computer in most parts of the world, but the test software still allows you to apply traditional test-taking strategies. Don’t waste time on difficult questions! Skip questions you’re having trouble with, then use the GRE’s “mark and review” feature to return to them later.

Tip #2: Prepare with timed practice questions. Reviewing sample questions from each section will give you an idea of what to expect so you’ll know which areas to study before the test. Don’t forget to practice for the analytical writing section. With only 30 minutes for each essay, you’ll need to be prepared with an efficient writing process.

Tip #3: Read each question thoroughly. Some questions require a single answer while others need you to choose multiple answers or enter a numeric value. Rushing through the questions can lead to mistakes that could be avoided.

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT—which stands for Graduate Management Admission Test—is used specifically for applying to business schools. Though some business schools accept both the GMAT and GRE, some people believe schools give admissions preference to students who have taken the GMAT because it shows that a student is committed to business as a career path.

GMAT sections

The GMAT is divided into four sections: analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning each takes 30 minutes to complete. Quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning each take a little over one hour.

Three of the GMAT’s sections are similar to those found in the GRE, but the GMAT has a heavier emphasis on data analysis skills that are necessary for business settings. The integrated reasoning section is designed to measure how well you evaluate and analyze data presented in different formats, like charts, graphs, and numbers.

GMAT scoring

The total GMAT is scored from 200 to 800, with each section also receiving individual scores that are reported to any business schools you apply to. This helps schools understand which areas you’re strongest in as they make admissions decisions. The GMAT reports that most test takers score between 400 and 600.

The GMAT is an adaptive test, meaning the computer will decide how difficult your next question should be based on how you answered the previous question. The scoring system takes this into account, awarding students more points if they answer more questions correctly and if their questions were of a higher difficulty level.

GMAT tips

Tip #1: Keep moving. The GMAT’s adaptive structure means you can’t skip questions and return to them later. Do your best to find the right answer, but don’t spend more than a few minutes on a single question. The GMAT penalizes test takers who don’t answer every question in a section within the allotted time.

Tip #2: Brush up on your math skills. Algebra, analytics, and other math skills make up a significant portion of the GMAT, so you need to be prepared. Be sure to refresh your memory about different types of charts and graphs while you’re at it.

Tip #3: Think like a businessperson. The GMAT is concerned with measuring how efficiently you can arrive at the right answer, much like a manager would in a business setting. A common GMAT strategy is to look at the answer options before you do a complicated equation. The right answer might be obvious without having to do many calculations at all.

Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

You may have been wondering which is easier: the GMAT or GRE? As you can see, both tests offer challenges and will require you to put in some hard work if you want to do your best. The bottom line of this decision comes down to your education goals for grad school and what type of test taker you are.

If you’re positive you want to enroll in an MBA program, the GMAT will show your dedication to the field. If you’re still on the fence about which degree you want to pursue, the GRE will allow you to begin the admissions process while keeping your options open.

If you’ve decided grad school is the right path for you and you want more information about Augsburg’s offerings, request some information and get started on the path toward your dreams. 

Choosing the Right MBA Program: Business Gurus Share 5 Factors to Consider

Choosing an MBA program isn’t easy. It’s a big commitment and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your degree without drowning in debt or being permanently handcuffed by homework.

We enlisted the help of five business leaders to share the most important factors they considered when they were choosing which business school to attend. As it turns out, gut instincts are important along with careful cost comparisons, and networking before you’re accepted is a great way to help you decide.

All of the business experts we spoke to have successfully completed MBA programs and used their degrees to advance their careers. The list of considerations they gave us is lengthy, but these insights are invaluable in your own MBA program search.

Choosing the Right MBA #1: Go With Your Gut

There are endless data points to consider when choosing an MBA program—cost, proximity, post-graduate salary, to name a few—but don’t discount the value of listening to your instincts and choosing the school that feels right when it’s time to make your decision. You’re going to spend a lot of time at this place and its reputation is going to follow you throughout your career.

“When I looked at getting my MBA, the most important criterion by far was how the current and prospective students made me feel when I talked to them in person,” says Phil Strazzulla, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and founded SelectSoftware. “At the end of the day, I went with a school that made me feel inspired and motivated by my fellow classmates to work towards my goals. I wasn’t peer-pressured into a typical career path, or made to feel like an outsider because I didn’t want to spend all my time partying.”

Like any other organization, colleges and universities—and the MBA programs they create—tend to have distinct cultures. A school’s culture can range from über-competitive to happy-go-lucky collaborative and anything in between. Culture is like the DNA of a school; it’s what makes up its identify and should not be overlooked.

“The best way to decide which business school’s culture is the best one for you is to visit campus, sit in on a class, and pay careful attention to how people within the MBA community interact,” says Tyler Cormney, co-author of “How to Apply for an MBAand the co-founder of MBA Prep School. “Aim to build a ‘personality profile’ of the schools on your shortlist to determine which MBA program has a culture that makes you feel at home.”

Choosing the Right MBA #2: Weigh Cost vs. Benefits

According to Investopedia, the average annual tuition for a two-year MBA program is around $60,000. When added to the cost of rent, food, books, and overseas tours and internships (depending on your area of concentration) it’s obvious how expensive an MBA can become.

MBA holders from accredited institutions, such as Augsburg University in Minneapolis, often earn an annual salary of more than $100,000 (depending on the field) so it can be worth that initial investment. But, don’t make a decision that big without first doing your research.

“I did a fair bit of research on the cost of MBAs and found a staggering difference across different schools,” says Jacob Beckstead, director of marketing and technology at Bailey’s Holding Company. “Knowing that the material would certainly differ, I had to decide on how much I thought an additional dollar spent on an MBA program would really get me a ‘better education’ or ‘better prestige.’”

Beckstead grouped the schools he was considering into three buckets:

  • Accreditation (i.e., is the school accredited by the Department of Higher Education?)
  • Regular schools (i.e., the most common state and public universities)
  • Prestigious schools (i.e., Ivy League and other notable universities)

Unlike some of his acquaintances who took two years off to focus on school full-time, Beckstead wanted to continue working while going to school. He ultimately decided on an online program that allowed him to do both, which helped offset the cost of the program and reduced his overall debt load.

Albert Ho is a project manager at Osler Health Systems and author of “Checkmate: How to Win the Sales Game in Healthcare.” He spent a year researching all 40 MBA programs in Canada and established strict guidelines to easily qualify or disqualify schools.

Ho immediately eliminated all schools that cost more than $50,000 and took more than two years to complete. “Students believe that every MBA must be expensive … this is not true. My tuition was only $22,000 for the entire program. I did not see the value of a high-priced MBA,” he said.

MBAs are valuable for both practical insights and long-term career rewards. Rahul Kashyap ’19 MBA, MD, says, “I was able to use valuable lessons from each semester toward my day-to-day roles in leadership at one of the world’s premier health care systems. The Augsburg MBA ignited a fire in me for innovation and entrepreneurial activities. I’m already rubbing shoulders with successful entrepreneurs.”

Choosing the Right MBA #3: Go With What You Know

Enrolling in an MBA program will be unlike any professional or academic experience you’ve undertaken in your life. You’ll be exposed to cutting-edge business theory, creative forms of entrepreneurship, and countless case studies of companies that have succeeded and failed.

The sheer volume of information and academic rigor will be challenging and unfamiliar. So, why not choose a program that builds on what you’ve already learned?

“I received my bachelor’s degree in economics … and really enjoyed the study of money and investing, the finance side. So for me, getting an MBA in finance was the perfect complement,” says Ron Auerbach, finance professor and author of “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success.” “It best prepared me for working in banking, financial services, and Wall Street. And the concepts in finance were rooted in economics. So, the crossover between the two made it easier to comprehend.”

MBA coursework can be doubly challenging if you’ve never been exposed to the subject matter.

“If you were an undergraduate accounting major who is already fluent in the language of business, then a case study-based program might be perfect for you,” Cormney says. “But let’s say you were a liberal arts major who’s been working in public relations for four years and never touched a spreadsheet. In that case, you are probably better off at a business school that will begin by teaching you the ABCs of business.”

Choosing the Right MBA #4: Consider Your Career Options

Before you travel too far down the path toward applying to business school, think about your end goal. What do you want to do with your shiny, new degree once you’ve got it? There are plenty of benefits to earning an MBA but the work is only beginning once you graduate, so make sure to choose the school that will work hardest for you after graduation.

“Clearly defining your career aspirations is a precursor to choosing the schools that are best for you,” Cormney adds. “Business schools can’t be all things to all students so they tend to specialize in certain areas—entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and so on … shortlist schools that offer courses that appear tailormade for your desired career.”

Auerbach agrees: “With a finance MBA, it opened the door to working in banks, corporate finance … personal finance, financial analysis, and investment banking. Thus, wherever I chose to live or ended up, there would be a need for somebody with finance training.”

Sometimes your MBA will directly affect your career path in the middle of the program. Augsburg graduate Mai Moua ’19 MBA says, “As a result of my MBA consulting project, I was offered a director position with the client. This opportunity is leading me into a new and exciting industry and role.”

Choosing the Right MBA #5: Leverage Your Network

It’s easy to think choosing an MBA program is a decision that rests entirely on your shoulders. In fact, most would-be MBA students think choosing the right path comes down to cost-benefit analyses, class-size comparisons, and online applications. But our experts agree that you have much more at your disposal.

After you decide which area of business you want to study, “find out where the thought leaders in your prospective industry teach,” says Cormney. “You’ll also want to talk to as many people in that industry as you can to find out what they perceive to be the schools with the strongest MBA brands.”

Albert Ho used the networking approach by talking to admissions counselors and attending 10 different information sessions at the schools he was considering. He also used the people in his personal network to help him make his decision.

“I talked to 30 friends and contacts that had already completed their MBA to learn about their experiences,” Ho explains. “These conversations helped me to understand the reasons for completing my MBA.”

Also consider what you want your network to look like once you’re in an MBA program. With a finance concentration in Augsburg’s MBA program, Lara Dreier ’15 MBA says, “My cohort was diverse in every aspect of the word, and came from all sectors and career stages, which meant I had something to learn from everyone. We were encouraged to support and lean on each other, and as a result I developed some lasting professional connections and friendships.”

The Bottom Line on Business Degree Programs

Choosing the right MBA program isn’t easy, but at least you’ve got some guidance from people who have been in your shoes, made the decision you’re considering, and succeeded where you hope to succeed.

Just keep in mind, choosing the right MBA program means it has to be a good fit—personally, professionally, and financially. Don’t take the decision lightly, do your diligence, and dive in. There’s no better time to start working toward the future you’ve always wanted.

Get professional opinions on choosing the right MBA for you and your career. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

Business Experts on the Benefits of Earning an MBA

So, you’re thinking about earning an MBA. Maybe you’re looking to land that elusive promotion or strike out on your own and take the consulting world by storm. Either way, an MBA might be the first chapter in your success story—and now might be the perfect time to go after what you want.

Top business schools across the country are reporting a significant drop in applications, according to a recent study from Kaplan Test Prep. The primary reasons given for the decline in future business leaders include:

  • Fewer international applicants (31%)
  • Strong U.S. economy (30%)
  • Cost of an MBA (17%)
  • Value of an MBA (13%)

It’s difficult for business schools to control the strength of the U.S. economy or the number of international students who might be scared off by America’s unpredictable political climate. But, the cost and value discussions are worth examining further because they speak directly to how current and prospective students define the benefits of an MBA.

To that end, we enlisted the help of four business leaders who hold MBAs to dig deeper into the subject and get their opinions on whether or not an MBA is a worthy academic pursuit.

An MBA provides career mobility

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global network of business consultants who provide strategic guidance to up-and-coming businesses.

“For me getting an MBA was definitely worth it. I went into finance right after college and realized I wanted to switch career tracks,” Arnof-Fenn says. “Going back to school allowed me to rebrand myself, try a new area as a summer intern, gain new skills, and build my confidence. For me it was critical for finding work I enjoyed and making the transition smoothly.”

In fact, earning an MBA can open doors to some of the most exciting business-related career paths out there. Coursework in statistics, economics, and entrepreneurship help degree holders establish themselves as business experts; while communications, management, and organizational behavior classes teach them to think critically and find innovative solutions to business problems.

“An MBA forces you to deep dive into topics and coursework that greatly broadens your business acumen,” says Shaan Patel, M.D., founder and CEO of Prep Expert. “By digging into case studies and working closely with peers, you are forced to develop skill sets and always question how businesses construct and execute their strategy.”

Arnof-Fenn and Patel both credit their MBA experience with helping them achieve the career goals they set out to accomplish.

Arnof-Fenn—who spent several years in corporate marketing, helped build multiple startups, and currently leads a global marketing firm—says earning an MBA helped her resume stand out and gave her “credibility as an entrepreneur.”

Patel turned his business vision into a successful bid on Shark Tank and now runs one of the world’s foremost standardized test preparation platforms. “For my own career, I found that the MBA experience shaped my understanding of strategy and how to execute longer term goals with actionable projects.”

Kevin Fleming ’14 MBA, MD, was thrilled with the career mobility afforded by an MBA from Augsburg University. “The Augsburg MBA enhanced my critical thinking process, business acumen, and leadership abilities,” Fleming says. “A few years after completing my MBA, I was selected to move to London as part of a new Mayo Clinic health venture in partnership with Oxford University. The Augsburg MBA program delivered!”

But, earning an MBA is a weighty decision

While it’s possible to create the next Fortune 500 company and make millions of dollars after earning an MBA, frankly, it’s unlikely. According to Poets & Quants, MBA holders generally earn a median base pay of around $125,000 and another $25,000 in annual bonuses. The potential to earn more is there, depending on your concentration—P&Q cited a few examples of MBAs who parlayed their academic prowess into starting annual salaries of more than $200,000—but the salary you might make after earning your degree shouldn’t be your only consideration.

The fact is, earning an MBA can be expensive. “MBAs, especially those who go to private business schools, can accumulate between $100,000 and $200,000 in debt and expenses in just over a two-year period,” according to Investopedia.

The average annual tuition for a two-year MBA program is just over $60,000, but add to that the cost of rent, food, books, and overseas tours and internships (depending on your concentration) and it becomes clear how the total cost of the degree could easily eclipse tuition.

“Business school is a daunting proposition—two years of lost wages combined with about $200,000 in debt,” says Alexander Lowry, professor of finance at Gordon College. Lowry holds an MBA from the Wharton School and knows full well the sacrifices it takes to attend one of the “elite” schools. “It took me three years to become NPV positive … and I was working on Wall Street!”

But don’t forget: financial aid and scholarships are available in MBA programs, including the Augsburg MBA, so you’re not having to pay the full cost on your own.

MBAs aren’t just about dollars and cents

Despite the tantalizing and terrifying realities of average salary and student loan debt, the benefits of an MBA may reach far beyond dollars and cents. The network you build among your peers and professors could benefit you throughout your entire career.

In fact, networking has become so important to business success that many MBA programs include skill-building courses and events in their curricula. And, if you consider the importance of referrals when courting clients or attracting top talent, your network becomes an invaluable tool. According to Business Network International, 98 percent of businesses rely on referrals to gain new clients and build new partnerships.

“It is a huge opportunity cost to go back for a degree so it has to be worth your while,” Arnof-Fenn says. “I do believe the degree is still relevant for the knowledge you gain but also for the contacts you make.”

Laurie Barger ’12, ’16 MBA, ’17 MAL says, “Rooted within the city, Augsburg has made its mark by fostering relationships and providing opportunities for the student population that go beyond classroom lectures. The MBA program brings together professionals from a diverse range of fields and industries, creating an environment cultivated for learning, building relationships and developing in ways that a typical, lecture-heavy program do not offer. With the professors drawing from their personal work experiences, they are able to cater the course to provide context that you can directly apply to your job, giving you the tools and resources to navigate your career.”

The bottom line on the benefits of an MBA

Earning an MBA is a big decision that should be carefully considered. While there are hundreds of success stories out there, plenty of money to make, and a countless exciting opportunities to build your network, it’s not for everyone.

Kenny Kline is an entrepreneur and managing partner at JAKK Media. He’s also a graduate of Columbia Business School who says an MBA is especially worth the time and effort if you fall into one of three camps:

  • You want to work in consulting, banking, or big technology.
  • You are sponsored and looking for a two-year [break] from your intense corporate job.
  • You are looking to grow your network for a very intentional reason.

Be sure you know what you want from the program before you start. It’s a challenging road, but it promises payoffs—personal as well as financial—if you’re willing to work hard to reach your goal. Just remember: Academic adequacy isn’t enough. You need to prepare for true scholarly success.

If you think you’re up for the challenge, the decreasing number of applicants means your chance of earning a spot in a competitive MBA program is getting better all the time.

Are you up for the challenge of an MBA program? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

Part-time vs. Full-time MBA: The Pros and Cons You Need to Consider

You’re ready to advance your career by earning your MBA—now your only problem is choosing a degree program. There are plenty of options to consider, but one of the biggest deciding factors is whether you want to enroll in a part-time or full-time MBA program.

Both types of programs get you to the same goal, but there are some important differences between full-time and part-time MBA programs. If you want to find success as a graduate student, you need to choose the MBA program that fits your needs.

We’re breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of a part-time MBA vs. full-time MBA so you can make an informed decision. Take a look at this list of pros and cons to determine which type of MBA program will work best for you.

Pros of full-time MBA programs

Shorter completion time

You can usually complete a full-time MBA in four semesters, which is about two years depending on the university’s course schedule. This short completion time means you can be on your way to career advancement faster, with less risk of burning out on your coursework.

Dedicated focus on your studies

A full-time MBA allows students to focus entirely on their MBA studies without also juggling a full-time job. Depending on your learning style, having more time devoted to your coursework could be a big advantage. You’ll also be surrounded by other full-time students, putting you in a ready-made community of people all working toward the same goal.

Additional financial aid options

Both full-time and part-time MBA programs offer financial aid, but many programs limit fellowships and assistantships to full-time students only. Unlike undergraduate financial aid packages, these options usually include a stipend to help cover living expenses in addition to tuition. Some external grants and fellowships may also limit their eligibility to students enrolled full time.

Cons of full-time MBA programs

Heavier tuition burden

Full-time MBA programs may offer more options for tuition assistance, but that financial aid comes with a downside. With most full-time programs being completed in two years, tuition is due in a more condensed time period. Students hoping to save up enough money to pay as they go might find this to be challenging in a full-time MBA program.

Less flexible schedule

Full-time MBA programs are structured more like the traditional undergraduate experience. Full-time classes would most likely meet on campus during the day, as opposed to more flexible online or night classes (which the Augsburg MBA offers). Committing to this schedule makes it nearly impossible to keep a full-time job, and it might also be a struggle to balance family obligations.

Loss of income

You’re going to have to give up your day job (or delay starting one) if you want to earn your MBA through a full-time program. Don’t underestimate the cost of losing two years of your full-time salary, including lost interest gains from contributions to a retirement fund. You can work part-time while earning your MBA to offset this loss, but it will still be a significant drop in income. In the Augsburg MBA program, you can keep working full-time and attend class one night each week to earn your MBA.

Pros of part-time MBA programs

Easier scheduling for working professionals

Earning an MBA will always require a time commitment, but part-time MBA programs offer more flexible class schedules that make finding time for school an easier proposition. If you’re working full-time and don’t want to give up your job, you’ll want to find a part-time MBA program that offers classes during your available times, like nights, weekends, or online.

More affordable tuition

Part-time students might lose out on some financial aid options, but that doesn’t mean they can’t afford tuition. Professionals who keep their current job while attending a part-time program might find that their employer will foot part of the bill for a tuition reimbursement program. Having a steady paycheck and a tuition bill that’s spread over a longer period will also make it easier to save up money for tuition and books each semester.

Real-life experience

Part-time MBA students can apply a lesson learned in class Wednesday night to their work on Thursday morning. Not only will this practical experience help cement what they learn in class, but it can also lead to advancement opportunities in their career before they even graduate.

Cons of part-time MBA programs

Lengthy completion time

Part-time programs differ in length, but you can plan on taking two to five years to earn your MBA part-time. Some schools offer accelerated or go-at-your-own-pace part-time programs to cut down on the time to completion, so check into those options if a lengthy degree program is a deal-breaker for you.

Greater total cost

The cost of a part-time MBA may be easier to swallow when it’s spread over a longer period of time, but the grand total could be more in the long run. Students who earn their degree at a slower pace are more likely to see a higher bottom line. The loss of fellowships that are only available to full-time students is also a factor. Calculate the total cost of a part-time MBA program to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Loss of motivation

Earning a part-time MBA alongside a full-time career and other obligations is like running a marathon. The longer MBA completion time means you might find yourself running out of stamina halfway through. Students who choose a part-time MBA need to be diligent to remember their goal and keep their motivation high—otherwise, they risk running out of steam before they have a degree in hand.

Choosing the MBA program that’s right for you

These important pros and cons will help you make the best choice when choosing a part-time versus a full-time MBA. Now it’s time to weigh your options and find the MBA program that fits your lifestyle, academic ambition, and budget.

Want help evaluating how an MBA can fit your schedule and your career? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.