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Career Q&A | By Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

MBA has benefits beyond just classes

Q: I'm planning to enroll in an MBA program that allows me to continue working while attending school. However, I'm beginning to wonder whether this degree will be worth the effort.

After putting so much time and money into my education, I would hope for some sort of financial reward, but my company does not give pay increases for master's degrees. I would be willing to change jobs or relocate if it meant that my degree would be recognized. How beneficial is an MBA?

A: I think you can safely assume that having an MBA will strengthen your resume and expand your career options. Even if you receive no immediate compensation bump, the odds of an eventual financial payoff are quite good. Several studies have found that MBA grads tend to earn more than their lesser-degreed counterparts.

Although you have been focusing on the end result, you should also consider the value of the process. In addition to getting a "ticket," you will acquire extensive business knowledge that can increase your effectiveness in almost any job. By the time you finish school, you may be amazed at how your perspective has changed.

As an added benefit, interaction with people from various backgrounds will acquaint you with a variety of industries and corporate cultures. Your fellow students can become valuable networking contacts, possibly facilitating future career opportunities. Many graduates have said they gained as much from their classmates as they did from their classes.

If you still have lingering doubts, consider contacting some alumni to ask about their experience. I'm betting that anyone who finished the program will believe the benefits far outweighed the costs.

New employee's extra effort is irritating co-workers

Q: My co-workers seem to despise me because I have a strong work ethic. When I took this job six months ago, I joined a team of three other people who have all been with the company at least six years. I love what I do, so I work a lot of overtime.

Now I'm in a pickle because my co-workers don't appreciate the "new kid on the block" working extra hours and exceeding our goals. Even though their negative remarks hurt my feelings, I'm not the sort of person who can fly under the radar.

Unfortunately, my boss seems to agree with my team members, so I can't go to her for help. What should I do?

A: New employees who make their co-workers look bad are inevitably resented. That's just human nature. Your eagerness to work overtime automatically implies that your teammates are less dedicated, even though some of them may not have the option of staying late.

You therefore face a difficult choice. You can continue accumulating extra hours and alienating your colleagues, or you can work the same hours as everyone else and no longer stand out from the pack.

Only you can decide which approach is best. However, since your boss apparently doesn't appreciate your extra effort, I do wonder exactly what your motivation is.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics."

MBA has benefits beyond just classes 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 4:31am]
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