Are you feeling stuck or stale in your current career path? Whether you’re ready to position yourself for a promotion within your current employer or change fields altogether, now might be the time to consider a graduate certificate or degree.
Bramley Crisco, who manages Employer and Corporate Relations at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics, keeps her fingers on the pulse of what employers seek from employees, new hires, and recruits.
She explains, “Organizational leaders often look for employees who have mastered their current job and are also invested in improving their education and career path. They notice and value employees who give themselves an educational “booster shot”, taking those extra steps to improve themselves and contribute fresh skills, knowledge, and experience. They see an employee who is motivated to add or build skills – who is giving her or his own career life an infusion of new learning and experience – and they can see that this person is invested in continual learning and improving. This is a promotable person.
When interviewing new applicants or recruits, employers value the determination and drive of those learning outside the regular nine-to-five job life and see this as a tremendous asset. They seek individuals with a growth mindset.”
Bramley says that organizations rely on building cross-functional teams. “It used to be that the functions of marketing, technology, sales, etc., were in separate silos. Today, many employers rely on the team approach – both functionally and culturally. In the Bryan School, we create opportunities to work on team projects and in a culturally diverse atmosphere. Our students are building skill sets that are highly attractive to hiring managers,” she adds.
Let’s take a look at some considerations to help you understand which path will help you achieve your goals. Consider the following:
- Deciding on a certificate vs. degree. Your career goals will help you understand which of these choices will be the best for you. Don’t hesitate to speak with graduate recruiters to help you get clear.
- Logistics – Take a hard look at how time will be needed for commuting, classes and study. Does it make sense to attend online or on campus classes? Can you create a schedule that supports your work commitments?
- Cost and Return on Investment (ROI) – Research the cost of a program vs. the short- and long-term salary expectations of the program of study you choose. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s website MBA graduates command higher starting salaries through their increased skill sets and the networks they developed throughout their business school experience.
- How will the program position you for the future – When researching programs, be sure to ask what sort of career support is offered, what can you do with the degree you are choosing, and what do people from that program typically do. Ask to interview program alumni.
“Students who have come through the Bryan School say the professional network they build through their experience is invaluable. These networks open doors—geographically and also in areas of specialization. The capacity to connect, share ideas and career opportunities, and create and maintain a network asset is one of the intangible benefits of the graduate school experience,” Bramley notes.
Check out this fascinating article, Is the MBA a Gamble, by the President and CEO of the Graduate Management Admission Council. It sheds light on many aspects of pursuing an MBA, and includes feedback from alumni who have recently graduated from a management education program:
- Seven in 10 full-time MBA grads say they could not have landed their job without their degree.
- 74% of respondents agree that business school prepared them to work in culturally diverse organizations.
- 82% agree business school increased their earning power with 74% saying an advanced degree provided them with opportunities for quicker career advancement.
- 75% agree pursuing graduate management education developed their professional network and 95% of alumni said they would recruit a student for a job from their alma mater.
Okay, now you have some fresh knowledge and a list of items to consider for giving yourself an educational booster shot to enhance your career. You don’t have to do this alone – reach out to professionals, colleagues, former professors, graduate recruiters and advisors.