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5 Ways To Know Whether An MBA Is Right For You

A sought-after opportunity for career advancement, an MBA can set you up for great success—but is business school the best choice for you? Here are five ways to find out


Tue Mar 12 2024

Whether you’re looking to boost your salary or fast-track your career, an MBA might be just what you need to make your resume stand out. Because MBA degrees mean a significant investment of your time and resources, making an informed decision is critical. 

Tim Murray, an MBA graduate from Old Dominion University’s (ODU) Strome College of Business, is now an assistant professor of economics at Virginia Military Institute and an applied microeconomist. His research covers topics in labor economics, urban economics, public economics, and health economics.

As an ODU MBA graduate and a university professor, Tim sat down with Business Because and shared his thoughts on key factors in the pursuit of a business degree. 

Here are five ways to know if an MBA is right for you:

1. Consider your career goals to determine the value of an MBA degree

Assessing your interests and having a clear plan are essential to helping you determine if an MBA is the most effective way to reach your career goals.

Building on his undergraduate degree in economics, Tim said that the diverse curriculum of the ODU MBA, with core classes in Economics, Operations, Management, and Finance, alongside electives such as Personal Branding and Ethical Decision Making, allowed him to make informed decisions about his career based on his interests. 

“The first piece of advice I give people is to ask yourself: What do you want out of your career? What kind of career are you interested in? Is graduate school the right way to get to that point?” Tim said. “Because it is an investment, you should ask yourself what else could you do with that time and money?”

Taking the time to consider all your options and how they align with your aspirations is crucial to ensuring you’re making the right decision for your future.

2. Compare the MBA course content to your undergraduate degree

While an MBA undoubtedly provides added value within and beyond the classroom, the range of new business knowledge and skills to learn will vary depending on your undergraduate degree.

“For somebody that didn’t have that wide breadth of classes in undergrad, a STEM major for example, the MBA is a great program that will give you a broad introduction to business classes,” Tim said.

Students looking to build on the foundational knowledge of a business or economics undergraduate degree would benefit from the selection of specific concentrations within the ODU MBA, such as Business Analytics, Economics, and Supply Chain Management. 

For Tim, an MBA with an economics concentration equipped him with the statistics and economics tools to pursue a PhD.

3. Maximize your MBA ROI

Determining your MBA return on investment (ROI) can help you assess whether business school is the best use of your time and resources.

The diversity of perspectives within the course creates a uniquely impactful networking experience. Connecting with professors who are experts in their field as well as future business leaders across a range of industries, allows you to learn from their experiences and build your professional network.

“The range of experience within the group adds so much to the discussion. The MBA really shaped my worldview and taught me the value of diverse experience.”

To support their students in maximizing their MBA ROI, ODU hosts a series of events to promote peer-to-peer connections, as well as presentations from aspirational business leaders and careers events held by ODU Career Development Services.

4. Find the right school and program for you

No two MBAs are the same—being selective with the course content in each program and business school is important to ensuring you find the best fit program for you. 

ODU offers a flexible MBA program, with the option to study in-person, in hybrid mode, or online. Students can also choose any option as part of a full-time or part-time course, enabling you to fit the MBA degree around your lifestyle. 

“The flexibility at ODU allowed me to be involved in research projects within the economics faculty,” said Tim. 

“For a lot of my peers that worked full-time jobs, they would come in the evening for in-person classes. Ever since I graduated, ODU has made it even more flexible by adding online classes.”

5. Figure out how to fit an MBA around your lifestyle

Maybe you are already certain of the benefits of an MBA for your future goals but aren’t sure of how it might fit into your lifestyle, particularly if you have significant work or personal commitments. 

To help you prepare beforehand, Tim recommends brushing up on those all-important math and statistics skills to save you time when you encounter these topics throughout the program.

An MBA comes with many enriching extracurricular activities, from networking events to sport-oriented initiatives and career fairs with top recruiters. To make the most of these opportunities, students who balance work and studying may want to consider switching to part-time work, or alternatively, a part-time MBA.

While business school is a challenge no matter the mode of study you choose, Tim strongly believes that his MBA experience was worth it.

“There is huge value in an MBA—it gave me a chance to discover what I was passionate about.”

Choosing to pursue an MBA is a big decision, so finding a program that aligns with your career goals is essential for unlocking its full potential and impact on your future career. 

Student Reviews

Old Dominion University





Unlimited opportunities for growth

My view of ODU is nothing short of amazing. I started attending ODU at in 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19 so most of my journey has been virtual but despite being in a virtual environment the faculty and staff have made me feel at home. The campus has endless opportunities for growth and academic assistance as well as hiring events for students looking to connect with jobs in their field. The campus is bright and lively but still has academia at the center of it. Its not too much of a party campus but there are opportunities for safe wholesome fun. All of my professors and advisors have been ready and willing to help with every issue, question, or concern.




On Campus

The perspective of ODU from a Freshman

Old Dominion University is a diverse university that has a variety of clubs, sports, Greek activities, and more on campus. They have plenty of food options ranging from Italian to Vegan. Everyone is welcoming and supportive on campus, and there is plenty of support for all Old Dominion University students. I personally dislike the placement of my dorm complex due to the not-so-friendly neighborhood nearby, but it is only a 10-minute walk to all my classes. If I could change one thing about Old Dominion University, then it would be to include a small dining hall for each dorm complex opened after hours of the main dining hall on Campus.




On Campus

Positivity Life changing

The diversity is key and this university demonstrates this. From the admissions, to the professors to the all shows a level of diverse rhythm and harmony that brings others together to learn in an environment that is enriching





A program with a lot of patience

I attended this university starting in 2014 and took many breaks in between for many reasons. I struggled with a lot personally on and off every semester, but I was still able to come back and finish with a decent GPA, which was fantastic. My biggest issue with the college I was a part of at ODU was that I had little to no help finding an internship, which was part of my reason for finishing later than I started. I also wish that they had made their health services more readily available to students no matter what year they were attending for.




On Campus


I like the relationship with my professors, they really made sure that I fully understood what was going on. I think the campus could have been a little bit safer, they seemed to be a little bit of security issues.




On Campus

ODU_ FreshmanYear

I really like how there are many options if it goes wrong or if you’re falling behind in your courses, there are many resources to help you. However, I don’t like how the professors don’t care too much to help you. College is really about being on your own and the transition from high school to college was definitely different yet effective.