MBA – Career Growth or Career Pivot?


You may be wondering: “Why should I invest in getting an MBA? How will this degree help me with my career?” To fully realize the benefits of your MBA, you'll first need to identify your goals and aspirations as they relate to your career.

This is the first in a series of three posts in which we will highlight how you can alter your career trajectory by earning your MBA. There are ultimately two roads you can travel:

  1. Career growth (Strengthening your existing skill set and gaining exposure to different thinking)
  2. Career change (Pivoting to a new industry or function)

In this post, we’ll challenge you to find out which road is right for you, and in the two following posts, we’ll discuss how an MBA from Neeley can help you take the lead on whichever path you choose.

Two Roads to Consider When Getting Your MBA

Are you interested in becoming a manager, department head or leader in your organization? Are you hoping to expand your knowledge and skills so you can secure a promotion? If so, you are likely more inclined to take the road leading to career growth.

Are you looking to acquire an entirely new set of skills, one unrelated to your current position and responsibilities? Do you want to explore your options and find a career that represents a better match for your interests and values? If so, your calling may be moving you closer to the road to career change.

Of course, deciding which road you want to commit to taking isn't as simple as answering those basic questions. To get the greatest return on your MBA investment, you need to enter a program with the right expectations. Setting those expectations means mapping out the road ahead of you, anticipating its twists and turns, planning for potential hazards and knowing which milestones represent true progress.

Questions to Ask to Decide Which Road You’re On

Form a clear idea about which career path matters most to you by asking yourself the following questions.

  • What are your long-term goals?

Even if you’re happy following your current career path, is it one that you see yourself still traveling in five years? Think about your long-term goals — both personal and professional — and decide if the path you’re on will help you achieve them.

  • How do you feel about your current job and career path?

Envision yourself in your current job a year from now, then three years, five years, a decade and even 25 years. Do you see yourself still being enthusiastic about the work you are doing? Bored with it? Concerned about the future of your profession? Confident that your job still fills you with a sense of purpose?

Trust your intuition and be honest with yourself. Take this opportunity to think in terms of what's ideal, not merely what is. Don’t dismiss these feelings. While your decision should ultimately be a rational one, you need to consider your emotional well-being when evaluating the role your career plays in the quality of life you enjoy. 

  • Does your career path run parallel to your values, passions and ideal lifestyle?

Your competencies aside, do you actually enjoy what you do? If your tasks and responsibilities don’t align with your values and passions, it may be time to revisit your current career path and see if another role or career fits better within the context of your personality, passions and lifestyle.

  • Are you making the best use of your skills in your current role?

In your current position, do you feel empowered to make a difference using your skills and unique talents? If so, are these skills the ones that most energize you and that you want to continue to employ on a daily basis?

On the other hand, do you feel underutilized in your current job? Do you see yourself burning out or not being able to acquire the knowledge and expertise you will need to get ahead?

We recommend writing out your answers to these questions. It is the best way to externalize and organize the many thoughts, impressions, assumptions and feelings you may have when deciding. Crucially, choosing to write something down is a commitment in and of itself. So get out a good, old-fashioned pen and notepad and document your responses. The results may surprise you.

Stay tuned for the second and third installments of this series. In our next post, we’ll discuss how an MBA from TCU Neeley can help anyone embarking on a change in career. The third and final installment will focus on career growth.

In the interim, feel free to contact us to discuss your career goals. Our team looks forward to telling you more about our programs and helping you take the lead on your career.

Access Archives >>