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What to Expect After Earning an MBA

Perhaps you're considering going to school for your Master of Business Administration, or you've earned part (or all) of your degree. How do you apply your education to your career?

At the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, we don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions in education or career, so we've compiled a list of post-MBA principles that encourage you to define your MBA return on investment (ROI) on your own terms. Whether you're interested in earning a full-time MBA, part-time MBA, or an online MBA, our principles will provide some guidance on how to make the most out of your education.

1. Stay Open

At Pepperdine Graziadio, we facilitate individualized MBA learning tailored to personal goals. This does not mean, however, that your career must match the track or set of electives on which you chose to focus. In fact, today's rapidly evolving job market demands agility.

Whether you expect to change roles at your current company or switch industries altogether, try to view your MBA as a means for mobility in multiple directions. You might even consider international opportunities, which can be both expansive and lucrative.

Once you're ready to start job hunting, take a beat to explore your options—not just the ideas you had when you started your MBA. In time, you will find that nothing you've learned goes to waste.

2. Cash In on Cachet

There is no denying that the three letters "MBA" carry prestige. They generate not just job prospects, but also opportunities to establish your voice in your field.

Speaking engagements, blog writing, consulting work, and teaching positions can all serve as inspiring career add-ons. They're also excellent ways to grow your community while you build your expertise, your reputation, and a social media following.

From a purely practical standpoint, you also benefit from an MBA alumni discount on continuing education programs at Pepperdine Graziadio, so that's another way to cash in, elevate your profile, and increase your MBA return on investment.

3. Define Your Value Your Way

Even with an MBA, a salary is just a number. Your salary is just one part of the package that an employer will offer. You'll want to assess what you bring to the table and what you want your work-life balance to be, along with what is a satisfactory salary, before heading into the interview process with a series of asks.

For ideas about typical salaries, explore websites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, and Comparably.com for salary ranges based on geography, years of experience, and company size. Be aware that you might be able to boost your initial salary by offering degree add-ons, such as certificates and MBA specializations, and that even a robust social media following can be leveraged. While smaller companies and startups might offer lower starting salaries than larger companies and corporations, there is an opportunity to negotiate benefits, perks, equity, vacation time, and carve-outs for writing, speaking, and teaching engagements that are mutually beneficial to you and your employer.

Not every MBA graduate starts in the C-suite, but those with MBAs statistically advance faster than their non-MBA peers; you can afford to exercise patience and vision in your post-MBA next steps.

4. Connect with Your MBA Cohort and Community

As a member of the Pepperdine community, you're part of a larger family of accomplished professionals. Combined with your career management team, the Pepperdine MBA family is an excellent resource for advice. This includes fellow graduates from your cohort, Graziadio alumni, faculty-mentors, career counselors, and the greater Pepperdine University alumni network, which is over 100,000 strong.

Pro Tip: Listen. While it is vital you communicate your goals to those in a position to help, listening to other post-MBAs yields surprising insights. You might learn about volunteer opportunities that broaden your thinking and your network, or gain valuable inside information from someone who has worked at your dream company.

It is also important to have one or two trusted guides with whom you can be completely honest. You'll want to be able to share your hopes and fears, and to have someone to advise you about sensitive salary questions.

5. Take Five

Believe it or not, not looking for a job right away is an option. If you've recently carried a full-time workload on top of an MBA curriculum, you are probably downright exhausted. Getting back to who you are is instrumental in preparing you for your next career move. So if you find yourself inspired to take a step back before taking a step forward, follow that instinct. Get back to family commitments, social interaction, or anything else that might have taken a backseat to your MBA. Your MBA story is one only you can create—you deserve to do it at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Are you ready to take the first step and receive your MBA? Pepperdine offers a host of MBA programs based on your needs. Take a look at our many programs on our website or contact us for more information.