Better Than an MBA: Top 5 Alternatives for Business Graduate Students

12 Jun

The Masters of Business Administration degree has long been hailed as a key to unlocking a future of corporate executive status. However, the growing cost of MBAs and the recent downturn in big company appeal has caused many to look for alternatives to the traditional graduate level studies. Here are the top five alternatives to a traditional MBA.

1. Specialized Studies

Many Fortune 500 companies are stepping out of the traditional business mold and are looking for graduates that have done the same. Experts agree that there is a growing trend in hiring business graduates that have chosen to pursue specialized graduate work such as studies in finance or human resource management meant to compliment an alternate field of undergraduate work. By establishing a foundation in engineering or a science, many students are then pursuing business oriented masters level degrees that develop their ability to apply their expertise toward real-world productivity.

2. Start a Business

Entrepreneurial experience is considered by many to be the best introduction to business management. The debt one would potentially accrue from entering an MBA program could alternatively serve as seed money for a personal business venture. The potential of founding a multi-million dollar business is as slim a guarantee as is landing an powerful executive position with an MBA and little real-world knowledge. Owning a business is a full immersion in the complete inner operations of business, and it is an opportunity to learn on the job. It may seem overwhelming, but it can arguably be the greatest investment in a business management education that one can acquire today.

3. Climb the Ladder

An MBA is advantageous to those that pursue it, but the real challenge is still in finding a company that is hiring. Many companies prefer to promote from within, and the opportunities that an MBA prepares one for are not necessarily the positions that companies are looking to fill with recent graduates. Instead, consider taking an entry-level position or internship once completing an undergraduate degree. Then, upward mobility can be a focus and an option. Employers often identify young personnel eager to move up within the company. That can translate into pipeline training and a guaranteed future. There is even the potential for tuition assistance should the need for an MBA become necessary while climbing the company’s ladder.

4. Industry Specific Path

The principles of good business are quite universal, but the specifics of how they translate into each industry can be somewhat exclusionary to those that have pursued MBAs. To bypass this potential pitfall, consider studying in a program specifically tailored to a specific industry. Many programs provide an opportunity to focus on a specific industry’s skills and experiences. By doing this, one is more likely to be prepared to assume a role in an established company.

5. The MiM Option

A growing trend for many interested in joining the world of business is the Masters in Management degree. The MBA is an overview course of study that can prepare and individual with a sampling of all the components of business practices, but a MiM is more specific to operations. MiM graduates are ready to face challenges related to the direct supervision and leadership positions within a business’ existing structure.

Bruce Martin is a freelance blogger, who investigates graduate-level study options. If you are interested in an MBA or one of the options listed in this article, he suggests that you click here to find out more.


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