Why Women Are Changing Careers, and How They’re Doing It Successfully

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As you read this, 2 out of 3 women in the workforce want more than a job change; they want a career change. They crave a professional path that ignites their creativity and brings purpose to each workday. Keep reading to discover how women are making this bold, career-changing move successfully.

The Desire for Change is Constant

As cliché as “the grass is always greener” is, a recent InHerSight study revealed that 9 out of 10 women daydream about pursuing new career opportunities. Four main factors drive most women in new professional directions through educational pursuits like getting an MBA:

  1. Better pay and benefits. Jobs after an MBA for many women help narrow the gender pay gap and yield significant salary opportunities. The median starting annual wage for women with a full-time, two-year MBA is US$95,000; part-time female MBA graduates average US$75,000 a year. Beyond salary, women want to work for companies who value their lifestyle with benefits such as good family healthcare plans, extended family leave, flexible work hours, and even benefits to help cover childcare costs.

  2. Mission I believe in. Most women are motivated by a career setting that challenges their skills, promotes creative thinking, values equality, and fosters collaboration. Many career opportunities for MBA grads offer a work environment with these favorable qualities. As Executive MBA alumni Morgan de Koning-Ward noted, “…as a woman it is her duty to pursue her endeavors and goals. Generations of women and men have dedicated their lives and careers to opening doors for future generations so that men women and men can have equal opportunities and fair treatment among genders.”

  3. Burnout. Burnout can feel like you’ve mastered every skill and are stuck in the rut of professional monotony. It also feels like your current workday is a “hamster wheel” of deadlines and tasks that are stressful rather than rewarding. An MBA is a burnout solution and a great path for career changers. It offers exposure to a wide array of business programs that deliver a professional future that’s invigorating rather than exhausting.

  4. Break the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling still impedes many working women today, but fortunately that’s changing for women in business. Jobs after an MBA are creating a“new normal” in many companies. To build on that momentum, de Koning-Ward said there must be less talk and more action: “It is important for companies and schools not only to ‘talk’ about women in leadership roles, but also to ‘show’ that they actively facilitate and support creating more gender-balanced teams with women in leadership roles, with a plan, targets, and deliverables for creating a gender-balanced leadership culture that actually IS gender-balanced at all tiers in the hierarchy, even beyond the glass-ceiling.”

Barriers for Women Switching Careers

From family demands to finances, there a few big reasons why earning an MBA is a challenge for today’s female professionals. For every one of these challenge, there is an opportunity that paves the way for switching careers:

  • Access to education: Learning empowers us to hone our skills, build our confidence, and reach our best professional potential. Education can take several forms in the workforce, from in-house seminars and professional conferences to employer-sponsored stipends that help pay for you to earn a graduate business degree. The challenge is to research all your options to find the best educational path for your career aspirations.

  • Time: Can you pursue an MBA full-time? Or is your current lifestyle of balancing children and career better suited for getting an MBA on a part-time basis? Although a traditional MBA program is a full-time, two-year endeavor with on-campus classes, there are many programs options that make getting an MBA much more flexible and realistic.

  • Cost: This is the most prohibitive reason for women wanting to pursue a career change with an MBA. Graduate business degrees are a big financial investment, but with funding options like employer sponsorships, loans, and MBA scholarships, funding an MBA is possible and affordable.

Career Switching Secrets to Success

If you’ve already invested time and energy into your current career, switching professions at this juncture seems impossible. It’s not, when you discover how other women have done it successfully through these strategies:

  • Overcome “imposter syndrome.” This is that pit-in-your-stomach feeling of not measuring up professionally. The best way to get over it? Get out there: Research as much as you can about the industry and career you desire. Read the latest trade articles in that industry. Interview professionals to get a feel for what their workday is like. Knowledge is power, and power will prevail over inadequacies.

  • Have the right interview mindset. Don’t worry about what your resume will look like to that first prospective client or new employer once you make a major career switch. Focus on keeping an open mind and leveraging your network. Think of interviewing as a chance to meet new people, exchange ideas, and foster new connections. Promote your past experience and treat an interview like an opportunity rather than an interrogation.

  • Share your entrepreneurial vision. This takes equals parts passion and fact. Wherever possible, support your entrepreneurial goals with the evidence that answers why. People will buy into your vision when then understand why your approach is worth pursuing.

Why an MBA Makes Sense for Career Changers

You’ve moved beyond daydreaming and want to know more about why an MBA is a great path for changing your career. And when you take advantage of free MBA and Business Master’s Resources like Program Finder and GMAT Exam Information, you’re well on the way to doing it successfully. Create an mba.com account today to get started.

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