Influencers make a living by finding a group of people interested in what they have to say and becoming an expert in that area. Spending your time in a digital environment doesn’t mean you aren’t running a business, though. You might wonder if you should pursue an MBA as an influencer.
In the 2019 Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report, researchers surveyed 830 industry professionals. They found that influencer marketing grew into a $6.5 billion industry in 2019.
If you want to make content creation and marketing your online career, you need a basic understanding of business practices and promotions. However, there are both pros and cons of pursuing an advanced business degree.
Pros of Pursuing an MBA
Of course, there are many advantages to holding an MBA. Before you decide to embrace a new course of study, consider the benefits to your career as an influencer.
Expertise in Your Field
If your topic of choice is business, industry, financing, or something else related to business, then holding an MBA allows you to speak with authority on your topic. While not everyone will look at your education, many will take an interest.
You’ll also gain an opportunity to meet people who know about things you do not. This will increase your own knowledge.
Opportunities for Promotion
The Princeton Review reports that an MBA can increase your earning potential. Those completing an MBA had as much as an 80% increase in salary.
You may work for yourself at the moment, but your partnerships with other companies, and how much they’re willing to pay you, may tie back to your education.
Education Is Never Wasted
Although you might not see an immediate increase in income from your master’s degree, learning new things is never wasted. Gear your courses toward what you need to know to be more successful in your chosen field.
You may need better accounting skills to keep track of your income and expenses. Seek out MBA courses focused on finance. Perhaps you want to learn better negotiation skills for landing big sponsorships. Think about what you most need to know and seek a program offering those skills.
If you one day get an outside job, you will still have your degree to help you land a better position than you otherwise would. Knowledge is power, so learn everything you possibly can about your given field.
Another advantage of seeking an MBA over other types of degrees is that many well-respected programs are online. You never have to leave the comfort of your home to complete your degree. You can also take classes on your own schedule, allowing you to work around a family and career.
There is also a wider variety of course topics when you study online. Many online universities bring in experts you won’t get in a brick-and-mortar setting. You can learn from experts in any field from anywhere in the world.
Partner With Others
Some of the ways you grow your online influence is by creating partnerships with individuals and businesses. School puts you in an environment with other business owners and professionals who have key connections. You can use your courses as a networking tool.
Many MBA courses teach you the power of networking and presenting opportunities to those you wish to work with. You’ll learn skills you may not currently have.
Cons of an MBA for an Influencer
Just as there are benefits to seeking an MBA, there are a few drawbacks for influencers. Here are some reasons you might want to delay or reconsider seeking an advanced degree.
Cost of College
One obvious drawback to seeking an MBA is the cost of a college education. Public in-state tuition runs an average of $20,770 per year. The cost of post-graduate classes may be even higher.
Graduate-level courses aren’t inexpensive, even through a local community college. If you don’t think you’ll see a direct return on your investment, and you’re already earning a living through your influencer network, you may want to forgo the degree.
Difficulty Breaking In
Should you decide you want to get an entry-level job in the industry at a later time, you might have trouble breaking in. Those with advanced degrees can seem overqualified for basic jobs. Companies might be reluctant to hire you for fear you’ll not remain long.
Companies may not want to pay you as much as you feel you’re worth. It can be hard to gain experience in a business setting without previous jobs. Yet, your job experience may be the fact that you ran your own business. You might actually be better off with a bachelor’s degree if you decide to go into the workforce.
Most schools require specific coursework to complete the requirements for your degree. The problem is that many of these classes have nothing to do with working as an influencer. You may feel these off-topic classes are a waste of your time and money.
You could easily take classes on a non-accredited site such as Udemy to enhance your skills only in specific areas. Not only will you spend less money, but you’ll also have a very focused education in only what you need to know.
Taking Time From Work
The smartest influencers spend time communicating with their followers frequently. When you dilute your attention with anything else, you lose focus on building your brand and the relationships needed to succeed in the industry.
You might feel your time is better spent finding new resources or asking your fans questions and then responding. Think about what the best use of your minutes are and whether you can juggle gaining another degree while keeping on top of the influencer game.
To do well in school, you need time to read the material, study, connect with other students, and spend time in the classroom. This means you’ll have less time to develop real-world experience. Some call this opportunity lost.
When you make the choice to spend time on school, you take that time away from something else you could learn or pursue to build your reputation.
Should You Pursue an MBA?
Ask tough questions of any program you consider. Some schools offer practical, hands-on training and internships. Others don’t. You’ll never recall details learned in a classroom as well as ones you apply to real-life situations. Choose carefully.
Only you can decide whether an MBA is valuable to your future. There are both pluses and minuses to pursuing a graduate degree. Weigh your options, make a personalized pros and cons list, and choose the path that works best for you.