3 Essential Questions For Choosing Your Graduate Business Degree

MBA, Masters, or even PhD? College-educated millennials stuck at a career crossroads often consider a graduate degree to get inspired, get ahead, and get paid.

Not even sure where to start? Get in the know by reading How to Decide if Graduate School is Worth Your Investment

Traditionally, prospective graduate students have looked to the MBA to get ahead in the business world, but the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data (BD) have expanded the options available to potential graduate students. Spawning from this demand, graduate programs like Masters of Business Analytics and Masters of Data Science have become more popular.

In addition to programs that provide students with the technical knowledge to meet the needs of AI and BD, business leaders have been called to improve their leadership and teamwork capabilities. Short leadership development programs, like coach certification, and longer graduate programs like Masters of Organizational Dynamics (OD) fill this need (full disclosure: I’m a faculty member in Penn’s OD program).

To help you decide on your best-fit business-related credential, I’ve polled my colleagues and other experts on critical questions to use to choose the right graduate business degree.

What degree enables you to fill in your skill gaps?

Before you choose a degree, you’ll want to do a thorough analysis of the labor market related to your interests. You can do this by browsing a site like O*Net Online to determine the growth in demand for certain job types, industries, and skillsets.

Valerie Sutton, Director of the Career Services Office at Harvard Graduate School of Education, suggests that prospective students first “determine ideal jobs for post-graduation and perform a gap analysis” of skills or experiences that are available in a degree program before making a choice. This wisdom applies whether you see yourself as a technical expert or envision your future as a business generalist or independent consultant.