5 Signs It’s Time to Stop Working and Start Your MBA

Apr 3, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Quitting your job and going back to school is a big step for anyone. But for someone in finance, banking or another business-related area, it can seem even more momentous: Will you lose ground in this intensely competitive field or will you jump to the front of the line by getting a sought-after business degree? Read on for five indicators that the time may be right for the move to an MBA.

 

1. You’re bored.

Boredom isn’t just problematic because it’s, well, boring. It can also be a sign that it’s time for a change. According to Business Insider, “Boredom is believed by various researchers to act as a warning that we are not doing what we want to be doing, which can motivate us to switch gears.” Not only that, but daydreaming can also lead to “autobiographical planning” toward future goals.

The takeaway? Boredom can actually be an opportunity -- particularly if your mind is wandering in the direction of business school and/or a more challenging job.

 

2. Your learning curve has become a straight line.

Lifelong learning is essential to a fulfilling life. This absolutely applies in the workplace. Being challenged -- and succeeding in those challenges -- supports satisfaction, engagement, productivity, and about a billion other benefits. And while you don’t need to be learning something new every day,  your skills and responsibilities should be growing with possibilities of even more opportunities ahead.

The onus for on-the-job learning doesn’t rest entirely with your employer, however. Asking to attend a conference, take a professional development course, or joining in on a new project demonstrates initiative while simultaneously offering insight into whether your company is ready, willing and able to invest in your career development.

 

3. You feel ready to be a student again.

Do you remember that feeling of anticipation and exhilaration during the days leading up to the completion of your undergraduate degree? More likely than not, it had something to do with finally being free of the seemingly endless pages of required reading, didactic assignments, and other day-to-day aspects of student life.  The truth is that whether you’ve been in the workforce for two years or 20, shifting back to student life can be difficult -- particularly if your head isn’t entirely in the game.

Of course, knowing whether you’re ready to be a student again also means knowing what to expect during your MBA studies. Additionally, the more you know about the different programs and schools out there, the better positioned you’ll be to identify one that best meets your unique needs.

 

4. You need an MBA to get promoted.

This one is pretty straight-forward. If you’ve got your eye on a particular position and one of the job requirements is a business degree, than an MBA might be a necessary part of your future. Even if a job description says that an equivalent number of years of work experience will be considered, know that your chances are slim without the degree.

A similar sign? If you’re applying for jobs but constantly being passed over for candidates with MBAs, the implication (even if not expressly stated) is likely the same. Simply put: If certain doors are only open to applicants with business school degrees, an MBA may be the key.

 

5. Your Inner Voice is Getting Louder

At one point or another in their lives, everyone considers a career change. If this quiet voice not only persists but is escalating from a whisper to a roar, this may well mean you’re ready for a change.

Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”  (And really -- who are we to argue with Einstein?)

While we’re not saying to go on gut alone, we are saying that there’s value in trusting your intuition, particularly if you back up that intuition with concrete reasons. (See 1-4.)

One last sign you might be ready to step off the career track and into an MBA program? You’re spending your time at work browsing the internet on the topic and reading articles with titles like, “5 Signs It’s Time to Stop Working and Start Your MBA.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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