your PR career… PR Graduate School (Part 2: MBA vs MA/MS) by Janet Krenn

“The earning begins later.” That’s how one survey respondent described career advancement after obtaining her MS.

I had a similar experience after obtaining my MS in Journalism. I had the advanced degree, but the riches were nonexistent. It made me wonder, was I lacking the right degree or was I lacking perspective and experience?

I thought, it would have been useful to talk with those who had a graduate degree and several years of experience under their belt before I decided on a grad program. That thought led to my survey.

I asked 32 seasoned PR professionals with graduate degrees to help me put graduate school in perspective, and (hopefully) gain some additional insight for those who are still considering a graduate degree, In last week’s post, we looked at 24 pros with MA or MS degrees (Seasoned Pros Talk About Grad School, Part 1). This week, we’ll hear from 8 with MBAs.

Why get an MBA?

Just like those with MA and MS degrees, the respondents with MBAs decided to pursue graduate school for career advancement, personal development, or career changing.

Unlike their MA/MS counterparts, however, MBAs who cited career change, chose an MBA because they believed it would help them become more specialized in corporate communications or it would help them to move from one branch of corporate communications to another. (Those with MA and MS degrees cited changing fields as impetus for getting their degree.)

What degree differentiates you best?

Those with MBAs were much more likely to say that their degree has helped to differentiate them from their peers. 75% of those with MBAs said their degree was a differentiator, compared to 40% of those with an MS degree and 0% with an MA.

What should you consider when choosing a grad school?

If you ask those with MBAs, 75% say you should choose a program based on the quality and variety of the courses offered. MA or MS grads say, choose a subject matter you like the most.

Is there a credibility gap?

Those with MBAs were more likely to perceive that their degree gave them “credibility” in the work place. 75% MBAs thought their degree made them more credible than their peers. 25% of those with MA or MS degrees sited increased credibility.

Benefits of getting a graduate degree?

Half of those with MBAs believed business school gave them a new, useful perspective in their job. The most respondents cited a “new perspective” as a major benefit of having attended grad school.

There was less agreement among those with MA and MS degrees. About 20% said the degree hasn’t seemed to help them get better jobs or earn more money. The same number said they believe their graduate degree has helped them to earn more.

“If I knew then what I knew now, I would…”

To finish the survey, we asked our respondents to give some advice to our New Professionals members. Their advice is posted to our eGroups page, and available for PRSA New Professionals members only.

Some of the demographic info.
Overall, those who responded to the survey are experienced. Most have several years of professional perspective between their graduation date and today.

8 PR pros with MBAs. (See the job titles of those who responded to the survey. Job Titles of Those with MBAs)

Of these pros, 6 (or 75%) graduated more than 5 years ago. 7 respondents had more than 11 years experience in the PR field.

See the directory of schools our respondents attended. Directory of MBA Degrees