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Pursuing an MBA is expensive and time-consuming. Depending on your career focus and circumstances, you may or may not need the degree. 

Technology and automation are changing the way we do business. Add in the impact of startups and the trend of anti-corporate culture and the MBA is no longer a guaranteed ticket to success, nor a requirement for advancement.

Don’t get us wrong; there’s still tons of value in getting an MBA. Many MBA programs have refocused on relevant and emerging fields like healthcare management and data analytics. But you should be very clear on the value it brings. For your MBA to be as useful as possible, you’ll want to choose the right school and the right time in your career to enroll in a program.

How can you decide if the MBA is right for you? We made you a list. For many business school students, the pay-off—from a higher salary to better career opportunities—is well worth the investment.  

Here’s what the MBA can do for you:

1. Pivot your career. The MBA is an essential tool in helping you switch from one industry or type of role to another in a relatively short period.

2. Make new friends and connections, create a high-value network, and open the door to a powerful group of alumni. You may even graduate with a new co-founder or partner!

3. Brand you with a powerful endorsement in the business world (especially if you go to a reputable school).

4. Get you access to traditional MBA professions, such as consulting, finance, and marketing, where the MBA remains a rite of passage.

5. Position you to earn more money—lots of it. Through economic upturns and downturns, MBA salaries have held steady.

6. Provide you with high-demand skills. MBA programs now offer concentrations in Nonprofit Management, Data Science, and Ethical and Social Responsibility, which are all fields with increased job openings.

7. Offer you niche positioning. From real estate and sports management to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, there’s an MBA specialization for you.

8. Teach you how to lead teams. The best of companies live and die by how well their employees collaborate and work with each other. If you aren’t getting the opportunity to gain management skills through your day job, an MBA program can help.

The bottom line is that if you’re considering an MBA, there are still big perks to be had. Beyond deciding on whether to get the degree or not, you’ll need to determine what learning format suits you. Are you a self-starter who needs flexibility? Then an online MBA program may work best. Do you prefer to work with teams? If so, you may want the relationship building that goes on in campus-based programs. Ready to commit? Click here to learn about how to study for the GMAT or the GRE, and what it takes to get into the best business schools.