What Can You Do With an MBA in Washington
If you’re employed in the business sector or would like to be, an MBA is the best strategy for attaining your dream job. That being said, if you’re working full-time you may be wondering how to coordinate admission to a graduate degree program with your current work and home schedule. The key to success is in planning: know your options, what to look for in a school, and make an educated decision based on what business concentration will best suit your long-term goals.
While it can take as little as a year if you’re attending full-time MBA courses, it may take you three to five years, or more, if you choose to attend part-time. The key thing to remember is that, in the long run, you’ll still be eligible for your dream job regardless of how long it takes to earn your degree. But, if you want to access an academic program that’s designed to help you develop real business skills, complete your core content quickly, and provide professionals the opportunity to network with on-campus or virtual sessions and social events, you may want to consider earning your MBA online.
Why Consider an Online MBA?
Washington is one of the fastest-growing states and it also has one of the highest cost-of-living rates. Many world-class corporations such as Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon call Washington home, and the higher education system (undergraduate and graduate) is one of the best in quality learning and lowest in cost in the country.
Because the state is experiencing high population growth, an MBA could be your key to advancement in both job position and salary. Because most companies prefer to support employee development and promote from within, your chances of internal promotion after you master your studies are excellent. If your goal is to move to another company, an MBA will move your application to the top of the stack. Most major corporations actively recruit leaders at college campuses, so you could have a new job before your diploma is in hand.
You may also find that your employer offers tuition reimbursement for MBA candidates. Usually this is with a stipulation of future employment, meaning you promise to stay with the company for an additional three to five years in order to take advantage of this perk. This can be an excellent advantage, because it will give you time to see if your career advancement is progressing as planned with your current employer and get your academics out of the way without hurting your own bottom line.
Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education
Typical MBA Concentrations
There are a variety of concentrations available across the country including business analytics, international business, public policy, and more. However, most business schools offer programs which center on specializations that are particularly applicable in their main state or region so that graduates have the best possible chance for finding a position once they graduate. These concentrations can be a significant help when graduates start looking for new positions, proving that you spent the time to study the info required for you to succeed in a niche industry position. That’s why it’s important not to skip over the possibility of having a specialization or focus to your MBA.
- Healthcare Management
You could oversee an entire healthcare facility such as a hospital, clinic, assisted living facility, or nursing home. Or you could be in charge of finances, human resources, and marketing with a focus on business rather than healthcare.
- Hospitality Management
You’ll learn how to run the day-to-day operations of a tourism related business as well as long term planning, marketing, and customer relations in a business such as a hotel, amusement park, casino, or tourist attraction.
- Technology Management
If the tech industry is your passion this field is expanding rapidly due to the expansion of mobile applications and computing. A leadership position will track and improve performance of technology and help market the products in a business role.
Become a leader in a developing small businesses with problem solving skills, teamwork strategies, and solid standards of business practices and growth methods.
- Supply Chain Management
Use your skills to analyze the current and future needs of the supply chain sector of a business. Use data and logistics to keep production running smoothly and to foresee future markets and growth.
Accreditation in Washington
One of the most important things to remember when choosing a school is to verify the accreditation of the college. An accredited institution has met the standards of an oversight organization and is usually a requirement to qualify for financial aid, such as grants and scholarships.
There are two types of accreditation: national and regional. National accrediting is typically used by private schools and online programs while regional accreditation is awarded to public schools. Regional accreditation in Washington is awarded by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
If your chosen school is accredited by a different organization, make sure to do a quick online search of the accrediting agency that’s listed on the school website. Make sure it’s accepted as a standard for financial aid and is well respected in the business community.
Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates
As mentioned above, Washington is enjoying a healthy growth spurt in both employment and population. While you can expect an excellent job and salary outlook, keep in mind the high cost of living in the state.
Most of the economic growth is on the eastern coast of the state. It’s important to remember the cluster effect of major employers; for example, Microsoft directly employs 40,000 people but many more are employed by other companies in the Microsoft supply chain. Likewise, major hospitals are also hubs for doctor groups, insurance agencies, and support services such as nursing homes and clinics.
Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees
|Company||Industry||Headquarters City||Number of Employees|
|University of Washington||Education||Seattle||20,000|
|Providence Medical Group||Healthcare||Spokane||8,000|
|University of WA Medical||Healthcare||Seattle||5,091|
Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Washington
Your earning potential will be tied directly to your chosen MBA concentration as well as your field of employment and experience. It’s also a good idea to remember that salaries don’t always reflect the entire income potential of a job, as many employers offer upper management bonuses and other perks.
That being said, you can expect your salary range to rise considerably once you earn your graduate degree and a new position.
Look at the average median wages for a marketing manager in Washington:
Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential
- Earnings with Associates - $80,370
- Earnings with Bachelors - $132,230
- Earnings with MBA - $208,000
Careers for Washington MBA Grads
- Chief Executives
in charge of the entire organization within a company or corporation; oversees finance, sales, marketing, and human resources to ensure all departments run smoothly and are profitable.
- Marketing Managers
coordinate and implement programs and policies pertaining to the marketing aspect within a company; maximize market shares and profits by setting service and product standards in order to meet consumer demands.
- Computer and Information Systems Managers
coordinate the tech department within an organization to make sure all systems are operating smoothly and efficiently. Oversee the purchasing, installation, maintenance, training, and security of the computer systems. May add healthcare coursework if working within a hospital system.
- Advertising and Promotions Managers
set the standards and policies for promoting a company's products or services with materials such as coupons, posters, and advertisements by using demographic and logistical data to predict consumer groups.
- Purchasing Managers
use logistics and data analysis to ensure a supply chain runs smoothly. Oversee workers involved in the area of material and product purchasing to ensure merchandise or supplies are on hand as needed.
- Sales Managers
coordinate the movement of a service or product so distribution to the end user is ensured. May oversee sales quotas, goals, and territories as they project future needs and growth.
Best MBA Programs in Washington
|University of Washington||Location
|University of Washington-Tacoma||Location
|Washington State University||Location
|Pacific Lutheran University||Location
|Western Washington University||Location
|University of Washington-Bothell||Location
|Seattle Pacific University||Location
|Saint Martin's University||Location
|Eastern Washington University||Location
|City University of Seattle||Location
How to Choose & FAQ's
Now that you have a better idea of what it will take to earn your MBA in Washington, you’ll need a plan to put it into action. The first thing you should do is get organized: make a work station, set up a file and folder system on your laptop, and make a bookmark folder to save any important URLs you might want to refer back to while you get ready to go back to school.
It’s a good idea to buy a notebook and some folders for the information you write down and the flyers and brochures you’ll get from each school you contact. That way you can easily locate the information you want to review.
- Search for Schools near Your Location
You may want to consider narrowing your school search to those within commuting distance from your home. Although you’ll be taking your classes online you may want to visit the campus at times; seminars, resource centers, and the school library are examples of perks you’ll have as a student. In addition, you may decide later that you want to take one or more courses on campus instead of online. By choosing a school you can visit in person you’ll boost your chances of success once you’re enrolled and in the process of earning your graduate degree.
Check the program requirements for each school; some have a global interaction courses as part of the curriculum. See if you’ll need to complete an internship or other work requirement. If so, make a note to ask your employer and the business school if your current employment meets the requirements.
- Compare Student Graduation and Employment Data
Make sure the schools you’re considering have a successful graduation rate. If only a third of the students are completing a program it’s a red flag that something is lacking in the curriculum or with the faculty. Make sure there are student advisors and tutors available for online programs and that the school supports their students during the education process.
Look for the post graduation employment data. A good school will proudly flaunt the number and percent of MBA grads who gained employment as soon as they got their degree; if the school isn’t talking about it on their website, ask the admissions office.
Ask friends, family, and coworkers what they’ve heard about each school. Check online for student forums and similar websites to see what the satisfaction rate is and what the most common complaints are.
If you have a dream job in mind, check the corporate website. See if any of the top management positions are held by alumni of the schools on your list; this may be a big boost when you’re ready to apply for the position.
- Estimate the Cost of the Entire Program
While tuition is a good indicator of what a program will cost it’s not the only financial aspect of attending a graduate program. Ask for a detailed report of student expenses and look for items such as books, lab fees, and student membership fees. If there are required seminars or field trips, check the cost of these items too. Remember your degree will take more than one semester and add multiple fees as necessary.
Your MBA may have other costs, too. If you need to hire a babysitter or house cleaner so you can get both studying and homework done, add those to the estimate. Likewise, if you’re prone to ordering takeout food when you’re overscheduled you should take that into consideration. While you won’t have to pay for the cost of driving to campus every day you may still have travel costs and time involved, so look closely at the curriculum for extras that may add to the program cost.
- Compare the Courses with your Schedule
Once you’ve narrowed down your school choices take a close look at the entire MBA program curriculum. Compare the coursework each semester with your work schedule and daily life needs; if you have to take the kids to basketball practice three nights a week you may need to make other arrangements. If you’re not sure of the time involved, look at the on-campus course by the same title to see if they give lab and homework recommendations.
Look for a list of requirements for each class. Writing an in-depth research paper might not seem all that difficult, but if you have to write three in the same week it may cause problems. Remember, when you take online courses you alone are in charge of scheduling, so you’ll have to have the organization and discipline to complete the work on time.
If you see a potential issue with a class’s schedule don’t cross the school off your list. First, check with the school and your employer to see what other options you might have. The course might be offered during the summer session or your employer might give you some flex time that you can make up on a different day of the week.
- Look for Financial Help from Your Employer or other Businesses
Don’t despair if the cost of your number one choice is more than you can afford. Before you eliminate the school due to price, look for alternative ways to pay the bill. The school’s financial aid department will help you look for scholarships and grants and you can do the same online; you’ll need your personal and financial information in order to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the standard form for most scholarships and grants, so even if your income is too high to qualify for federal aid you can use the form to apply for other assistance.
Ask local corporations if they sponsor business students and check online for professional organizations that offer scholarships and mentoring to MBA students. Check with your employer to see if there is a tuition reimbursement program or a time allowance while attending school. Often, a larger company will pay for a degree in return for a contracted number of years on the job after you receive the degree, so you’ll get your school bill paid while earning money and experience.