In a nutshell: Get your MBA right after school or after some time in the real world? There are advantages to both strategies.

You’ve got your bachelor’s degree … now what? If you’re considering getting your MBA, your choices are to pursue it immediately while you’re in a college student state of mind or get a few years of work (and life) experience before focusing on school again.

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each path and which journey will be a better fit for you.

Keep It Up

If you’re not feeling burned out from four years of higher education, this might be a great time to keep your eye on the prize and power through. You’re already in an education mindset and in a routine of writing strategic marketing papers, attending leadership classes, taking accounting tests and doing finance homework. And, according to Investopedia’s “Should I Go to Grad School After College?”, if you’re considering life choices like a spouse and children later in life, this may feel like an opportune time for you to earn an MBA.

From a financial perspective, it may make sense for you to continue directly to grad school to potentially boost your earning potential when you do enter the workforce. Some jobs (especially those with higher salaries) require an advanced degree, but keep in mind, these same jobs will typically expect work experience as well.

By continuing your education, you may be able to defer student loan repayment for your undergraduate studies. This doesn’t mean interest ceases to accrue though, so don’t lose track of your borrowing situation. According to U.S. News’ “Tackle Undergraduate Student Loans While in Graduate School,” if you’re in school part-time, you can elect in-school deferment. Another option is to request a lower monthly payment so you can begin to chip away at the loan.

Time Out

Because many MBA programs seek applicants with work experience, taking time to focus on building your resume may help you get accepted into your college of choice. By giving yourself breathing room after your undergraduate work, you can deveote more attention to preparing for the GRE or GMAT.

You’ll gain the most benefit from an MBA program by applying what you’re learning in your courses to your current work processes. In return, you’ll be able to share your first-hand work experiences, a smart way to build connections with the people in your program.

Having a career in place prior to pursuing your MBA may help ease the burden of paying for your degree. Your company may offer tuition benefits that will fully or partially cover your continued education. And if your employer doesn’t, earning a regular salary should make it easier for you to handle tuition costs or loan repayment.

The choice is yours: The right route to an MBA is going to be different for everyone. Take the time to consider the pros and cons of each option for your situation. The destination is same no matter how you get there.

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