Should I do my MBA right after undergrad?

I think the answer to this question is “It Depends”.

What we are used to in the Indian system is completing education for a lifetime, all at once and then work till you age. This is probably why the question of should I do an MBA right after college comes up.

I’ve seem most students who pick up an Engineering degree with interest in management/leadership feel this dilemma. Believe me, I’ve been there too.

I’ve spoken to multiple people about this and here’s what I’ve gathered.

  1. Average work ex of students is 5–6 years for an Ivy League B School. Work-ex will help in gaining better understanding of what you’ll learn.
  2. The environment is quite intense and it helps to really be clear about why you wish to do the MBA before you enter the program. Else, it becomes very easy to get lost.
  3. An MBA is quite expensive. Planning for your finances is very important. So irrespective of when you decide to do your MBA, ensure you have figured out your financial plan.
  4. It is also important to decide which market you wish to work in. If you want to work in Singapore, then do a SG based MBA.
  5. Use an MBA as your trump card. Leverage your basic degree and experience to get as far as possible. Then use an MBA only when you feel you need to make a career transition or transformation. This was the explanation that one of the students gave: Most students enter their first job and the subsequent ones without much thought about their personal goals or career goals. After clocking few years of experience, it is easy to feel stuck. You might either not like your current market/job or feel like there’s no more growth. That is when doing an MBA helps.

Overall, taking time to gain some experience, understand why you really want to do an MBA, figure out where you wish to work post MBA and doing the course at the time you really need it to make a career transition is ideal.

When you have figured out answers to the above questions and have sorted out your financial plan is when you should do an MBA.

Note: If you’re certain that you wish to do an MBA, this framework makes sense. But before you zero in on your decision, give it time to evaluate other Masters courses. These Masters courses are usually a year long and can help you get into entry-mid managerial positions. (Eg: Masters in Management, Masters in International Business, Masters in Finance, etc)

It might also be worthwhile to evaluate whether you want to do an MBA at all. If you can comfortably use your undergrad degree and experience to get a job you like and can grow in, then you might even want to consider rushing in to do an MBA. Instead, if you clock 10+ years of work ex and wish to pick up an MBA, go for an Executive MBA at that point.