To Work or Not to Work?

fingers laced behind head

Make the decision that’s right for you – decide whether to stay or leave your job when you become a graduate student. 

Deciding whether to leave the job market for school is a tough decision and the answer is different for everyone. As you prepare to enroll in business school, you’ll need to consider what type of program and schedule best meets your individual preferences and goals.  

To help you decide, consider these economic scenarios: 

If the economy is booming and jobs are plentiful: Your company may be willing to support your decision by reimbursing you for tuition, fees, and other expenses. They may also offer to give you flexible hours, keep your job open, or create a new position for you when you graduate.  

If the economy is down and jobs are scarce: Attending graduate business school allows you to retool your skill set and be ready when the economy rebounds. Even if the economy doesn’t improve during your tenure at school, companies might be more eager to hire well-trained and accomplished MBA or Master’s graduates.  

In addition to external circumstances, think about your current job situation and long-term career goals. Ask yourself questions like: 

  • How would obtaining a graduate business degree impact my job? 
  • If I stay in my current job, and don’t get a graduate degree, what would my career path look like? 
  • Do I want to stay with the same company or look for a new job? 
  • If I continue to work while attending school, will I have enough time to study and participate in group work? 
  • Does my current job give me the flexibility to accommodate a school schedule?  
  • What is my financial situation and what level of income is required? 

Once you flesh out your unique situation and identify the best program to meet your needs, start discussing your b-school plans with your employer and provide any official notices.  

If you decide to submit your resignation, consider these tips: 

  • Check the company’s policy on giving notice; two weeks of advance notice is the standard. 
  • Make an effort to leave on good terms with your employer; offer to train your replacement, if feasible 
  • Organize your projects and files so your replacement can transition easily into the job. 
  • Leave instructions on how to accomplish certain tasks effectively and efficiently.  
  • Stay in touch with your employer and coworkers as you build your professional network.  

Whatever you decide, an MBA or Master’s degree will make you more marketable and valuable for companies, because you will have specialized training that your colleagues might not. Ultimately, it’s important to make the decision that is best for you and your career.