I had someone ask me the other day why I decided to get my MBA when I did if I thought the timing mattered. I did not have some grand scheme to relay to him that showed some great wisdom in my own timing. However, I did appreciate the “real world” experience I had before obtaining my MBA.

I went back for my MBA after approximately 4 years in the workplace. During those 4 years, I held 4 different IT roles. While I am certain I would have still benefitted from the MBA right after undergraduate, the experiences in those 4 years clarified my studies.

To put it another way, whenever I have read books on leadership they always made sense. However, it wasn’t until I held a leadership role or two that these books suddenly made REAL sense. Instead of reading the text and thinking, “cool, I like that idea”, the thoughts now are “Ah-Ha! Why the heck didn’t I think of that, I must make sure and do that next time”. The lessons stick better, you retain more and the reading seems more exciting.

In essence, this is what “real world” experience gains you before an MBA. There is no magic formula, no secret timeline. But in the end, I do believe you will be better served getting a few years under your belt before going back for an MBA.


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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