Should Chemist Pursue MBA?


Melissa writes:
I am seriously considering returning to school to earn an MBA. I have a BS in chemistry and am working as a chemist for a large contract laboratory. I have been told these degrees are much in demand especially combined but I haven’t been able to find any specifics such as job descriptions and range of salaries. The program I want to attend is expensive and I need to be sure it will be well worth it. Do you have any helpful information or resources?


The Career Doctor responds:
Melissa deciding to go to graduate school is a serious decision — perhaps an even bigger decision than when you first chose to attend college. You’ll have to make many decisions: Will your career be better with a graduate degree; will the graduate degree
allow you to redirect your career; what graduate school and what graduate program/degree is best for your career choice; will you attend full-time or part-time; will your current employer pay for all or part of your graduate costs; will you stay with your current employer during graduate school and/or once you get the graduate degree; what is the best time (if any) to make this decision. You can find a discussion of some of these issues at Tips
for Working Professionals in Search of Advanced Degrees
.
My best advice to help you make some of these decisions is to seek out a mentor in your field. I would also talk with the placement office of the MBA program you are considering and ask about placement for people in your situation. You might also try to make contact with people doing the job you want to do — an informational
interview
of sorts.
Finally I did a little research for you and found this bit of information. According to the University of Maryland’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: “Chemistry and Biochemistry majors have successfully pursued law degrees and MBAs. These lawyers and business people are sought after because of their technical background and ability to understand complex issues involving science and technology. Students may pursue careers in sales regulation of industry or science policy.”