The year 2020 was not good for a lot of people, but for seasoned investors who had a pretty good idea of what will bounce back in the near future, it was a year for making intelligent decisions. However, does the same apply to education investments such as an MBA course? If the demand for MBA courses reduced, like it did, should people skip studying it for the time being, or should they still consider it an investment into their future? Let’s try and answer some of those questions next, as well as some others that aspiring MBA students should find to be useful.
Pursuing an MBA in 2021 Makes Perfect Sense
The Master’s in Business Administration, aka the MBA, degree is a specialist course for fairly experienced professionals. It provides training and education to help further their managerial and leadership capacities, so that they can take on more challenging roles with better career opportunities. As long as someone chooses the right concentration and university for their MBA course, it is unlikely to be a bad investment at any point of time. That being said, getting a business degree makes even more sense amidst all this than it did before. Let’s provide some strong reasoning behind this statement next.
MBA Fees as an Investment
Business has finally begun to surge all over from late 2020, and with multiple vaccines coming out this year, the industries that were affected in the worst way possible will start to rebuild. It won’t all happen in one year, but the biggest booms are impending in the coming years of this new decade. Those that join MBA courses now will graduate from their respective universities in a few years’ time only to enter a market that’s booming with new opportunities.
The fact that a lot of people are either unable to, or choosing not to, complete their MBA degree right now, will create a shortage of adequately qualified, management professionals who can take up the administrative positions which will be available in the surging market at that time. As part of the chain reaction, this shortage will make MBA graduates more valuable professionals than they have been in recent years.
As one should be able to figure out by now, the fees and other expenses necessary for pursuing an MBA right now can indeed be quite similar to making an investment. The first rule of intelligent investing is to buy when price and demand is down. However, that’s not a blind rule by any means. One still needs to make careful choices regarding major factors such as:
- Which of the down-markets are most likely to come back?
- How long will it take for the chosen sectors to become profitable again?
As demand has gone down for the time being, not only are students more likely to find openings in some of the best business schools, but they are likely to get a discount on the fees as well. Besides, most major industries are conducting online MBA classes now to keep their faculty and students safe from Covid-19. That, in turn, opens up the opportunity for students to save even more by being able to skip the cost of accommodation or regular commuting. In the very near future, though, none of those elements will remain a factor, which makes 2021 sessions a major opportunity for MBA aspirants to enjoy the best of both worlds by making a calculated and smart investment in higher education.
Making that Calculated and Smart Choice
In order to invest in a bad market and rip profits from that investment later, once the market begins to improve, one must choose carefully. If a company is unable to come back after a temporary bad run like predicted, the shares bought will become a permanent bad investment. Applying the same principle to MBA courses has always made sense, and it makes even more sense in light of the present situation.
To be able to enjoy high employability, boosted pay, and significant demand as a business manager in the coming years, it is imperative for students to choose their MBA concentrations with future market trends in mind. For example, an MBA in Business Intelligence is already one of the best fields to specialize in, but down the line, it will gain even more importance.
It’s a program perfectly suited for business analysts, data analysts, project managers, business consultants and just about anyone else who deals regularly with one or more aspects of business data, analytics and intel. Check this post here to gain a better understanding of which other MBA concentrations are likely to remain in high demand with a high probability to grow further in prospect down the line. Making an informed choice after careful consideration and research is crucial if the course really has to turn out as a profitable investment for the future.
Online MBA Courses: Safety and Affordability
Universities that have kept their campuses closed for a long time now may start opening to new students soon. However, most are likely to hold back on taking that decision, until the vaccines become more commonplace. Those pursuing their MBAs online will not have to wait for that to happen, and could end up shaving precious months, if not an entire year, off their tentative graduation date. Online MBA programs are being offered by nearly every business school in the US and abroad, simply because it is a safer, more affordable and practical option for professionals in 2021.
There are a few catches to this unfortunately, but they are not serious enough to be deal breakers. With some foresight, prior research, and common sense, students can work around them. We will highlight a few next, so that readers can be better aware of what they should be expecting.
The Risk of Making Poor Choices Must be Mitigated
It’s easy to make a mistake on so many accounts here, especially since the panic level is quite high now in the United States. Employment rates have dropped, the government has changed recently, and the number of American citizens who have passed away after incurring the infection is more than the combined death toll in India and Brazil (2nd and 3rd worst hit nations after US). To avoid taking rash decisions that might jeopardize both physical safety and financial security, consider the following two points:
Fraudulent Courses – Fraudulent courses are almost as old as online education itself, but now that the internet has become a primary mode for education to continue safely, more of them are starting to cause a nuisance. It is highly advised that students refrain from joining any unaccredited MBA program which cannot be verified beyond doubt. Even if a university or business school claims that they are authentic and accredited, the same must be verified on two accounts:
- Is the course and business school claiming to be accredited by the accreditation board really listed on the accreditation board’s website?
- Does the accreditation board itself hold enough respect and validity for their accreditation to be considered as a stamp of quality?
Inexperienced Faculty – Some of the best business schools from around the world never held a single online class before the pandemic. Yet, they too have started offering online courses for various degrees, including fully fledged, online MBA programs. The issue here is that their faculty may not have much experience with how online programs work, even if they are themselves brilliant teachers.
It will take a few years before the new online MBA courses can be sorted, reorganized and updated to become a feasible program. On the other hand, reputed online business schools have already perfected their coursework to suit the online format, and they did so a long time before the pandemic made it commonplace. It is advisable to consider more established online courses from accredited universities over new online MBA programs being offered by reputed universities with little to no experience with teaching business lessons online.
The Wrong Specialty – In order for an MBA to be truly useful, the specialty must be in line with the professional’s present field of work. There are certain specializations which enjoy wider applicability of course, but the more focused a concentration is, the more useful it is going to be in real life. Also, as previously mentioned, some thought must be given to possible future trends as well, rather than just limiting research to 2021 – 22.
Financial obstacles might prove to be a big deterrent for some, and it is understandable as to why they would put some off going to business school indefinitely. After all, taking leave in the middle of a bad economy is not an ideal choice. Fortunately, with online education, taking that break is not mandatory. It is quite possible to continue working like always, while pursuing higher education online. Given that most of us spent 2020 working from home, the online format of education should feel quite familiar in 2021.
Disclaimer: This content does not necessarily represent the views of IWB.