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I Have No Business Background – Is B-School for Me?

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One thing that shouldn’t hold you back from a graduate business education is not having a "business background".

I Don’t Have a Business Background – Is Business School Right for Me?

Choosing to invest your time, money, and energy in pursuit of a graduate business education is a decision that requires self-reflection, and there are a lot of things to think about. One thing that shouldn’t hold you back is that you don’t have what you might consider to be a "business background".

In fact, graduate business programs around the world work hard to admit diverse cohorts of students to enrich their classrooms with a mix of experiences, perspectives, and educational backgrounds. Did you know that nearly half of GMAT test takers last year didn’t major in business as an undergraduate? It’s true, and the percentage of test takers with nonbusiness bachelor’s degrees has trended up over the past several years in part because so many "nontraditional" business school candidates have found professional and personal success through earning a business degree.

Here are four reasons why an MBA or business master’s program is a great option for you:

Change the Course of Your Career

A recent survey of mba.com registrants revealed that most business school candidates who didn’t major in business as an undergraduate are interested in changing either their job function or industry through earning a graduate business degree. Even if you’re uncertain about your professional and career goals, business school is a great option because it will expose you to a variety of career and job options – some of which you may not have considered before.

A 2016 survey of business school alumni found that more than half (52%) are currently employed in an industry or job function they did not have prior to entering business school, and 39 percent work in an industry they had not even considered prior to starting business school. Part of the value of a graduate business degree, particularly an MBA, is that there’s no limit on how you can use it to advance your career – alumni work across a diverse array of jobs and industries, from products and services to manufacturing to nonprofits. With the helpful guidance and experience of your professors, the career services office, and your classmates, you might just discover a career path you never knew you were interested in pursuing.

Develop Your Skill Sets

Most business school candidates who have nonbusiness undergraduate degrees identify development of their general business knowledge, leadership skills, and managerial skills as important motivations in their decision to apply to a graduate business program. Business school is the ideal setting for developing these skill sets, which will enable you to thrive in the modern business world and stand out to employers. Nearly 9 in 10 Class of 2016 business school graduates (89%) say the skills they developed through their program were important for obtaining their current job.

Build Your Professional Network

Who you know matters, and going to business school can dramatically expand the universe of professionals you are connected with. Being a part of a business school network gives you an ‘in’ with fellow alumni across companies and industries and gives you the chance to build relationships, share information, get advice, seek professional opportunities, and continue to expand your business connections. 

Among graduate business alumni from the Class of 2016, 87 percent agree that their graduate business education developed their professional network and the majority (62%) say the network they developed while enrolled in their program was important to obtaining their current job. That’s the immediate power of being a part of a business school network.

Boost Your Earnings Potential

Adding a graduate business school credential to your resume and being able to communicate the value of your degree and experience to potential employers will enable you to demand a higher total compensation level. Eight in 10 members of the Class of 2016 (79%) agree that their business school degree immediately increased their earnings power. Average total annual compensation for business school graduates can vary by degree type. For example, among Class of 2016 full-time two-year MBA graduates the average total starting compensation after graduation was US$120,000. Among Class of 2016 Master in Management graduates, the average postgraduate total starting compensation was US$60,000.

Are you ready to invest in yourself with a graduate business education? The GMAT exam will help you stand out in the admissions process. Business schools around the world know that candidates who take the GMAT exam are serious about earning a graduate business degree, and they know it’s a proven predictor of a student’s ability to succeed in business school. More than 7,000 graduate business programs worldwide accept the GMAT exam – which will you apply to? Start your journey today by using the Program Finder page to search for programs by location, degree type, program length, and format to find the programs that are the best fit for you and your goals.