MBA has such a ring to it, doesn’t it?
“I’ve got an MBA, so watch out!”
“Oh look, there are some more MBAs. They think they’re so cool.”
The funny thing is, I actually do have an MBA. I earned it from the Binghamton University in 1999. It was a one year program and I must say, it was rather intense. If memory serves, I took 18 credits per semester for the one year, but it felt like 22 credits per semester. The business school had recently hired a new dean who wanted to make a statement. They offered the “fast track” program to students who had already earned a business degree during their undergraduate studies. To squeeze all the necessary classes into a single year, they combined four of the classes into two. So, Finance class and Accounting class became Finance/Accounting class. No less work, just fewer credits. I suppose that was a good thing, seeing colleges charge per credit, but I didn’t see things that way at the time. I was swamped with studying.
Back to the question though – are MBA degrees worth the time and money invested? The answer to that depends on the way you look at things.
Back when I decided to get into my program, I did so to simply meet a personal goal I had. I wanted to be the first and only person in my family to earn an advanced degree. Who knows why I did this. Looking back, none of my family cared and they still don’t. I do though and I suppose that’s all that matters. If someone were to ask me if I got value out of my degree, I’d have to answer that I did, in accordance with my goal. If they asked if I had ever made any more money because of it than I would have otherwise, I’d have to say that I probably hadn’t. Actually, I did get one job at which I stayed for nine months because of the degree. They seemed to like it.
When thinking about worth, we have to consider actual worth and perceived worth. If you study in college, you should be doing it for yourself. If you work hard and learn things and acquire skills you hadn’t yet had, it was worth something. If others find that valuable and hire you because of it, even better. If you’re merely attending college to get it over with and to put something on a piece of paper just to say you did it, you may find worth in it due to an easier path paved forward. Employers tend to lean towards those who have degrees rather than those who don’t. This isn’t to say that there aren’t extraordinary folks who don’t have degrees who aren’t hired, because there are. It’s just that they most likely needed to know something who ushered them through the door initially.
The thing with advanced degrees like the MBA is that there really is a cost/benefit analysis attached to them. Everyone wants an undergraduate degree because they’re the standard in today’s world. But if someone were to venture forth for the advanced degree, they should do the math before they move forward. They should ask themselves the following questions:
- Why would I like to do this?
- What is my goal for earning this degree?
- Will the cost of the degree be paid back to me?
- Will there be more opportunities waiting for me after I complete the degree?
- How much will the degree cost in both time and money?
Most kids begin seriously thinking about where they want to go to college and what they’d like to major in during their junior year of high school. The whole process is laid out for them and it’s assumed that they’ll adhere to it. That’s undergrad. For grad school, it’s much more of a personal decision. Perhaps someone sees an opportunity that’s only available to those with advanced degrees and that’s why they’d like to get one. Perhaps they’d like to learn more about a given subject. Whatever the reason, when it comes to advanced degrees such as the MBA, the cost of the education is most likely the primary factor.
Personally, I’d first look at the person who is interested in the MBA. Are they a real go-getter? If not, I’d advise that they don’t waste their time. Are they currently working in a field that’s got lots of opportunity for those who hold MBAs and they want to partake in those opportunities? If yes, I’d advise that they should go to college and then start kicking some butt. Are they planning on working in Accounting or Finance in NYC and they want an MBA to stand out? They may have no other choice but to get one. However you look at things, it all boils down to cost, personality type, and how someone plans on using what they’ll be paying for years to come.
I recently read a few articles on this topic. Here are some links to them:
When Is an MBA Worth It?
Is An MBA Worth It? After Covid-19, Absolutely Not.
Is an MBA Worth It? Yes! But Not For the Reasons You Think.
Please leave your thoughts below. What to you think about this? Is an MBA worth it?
My cousin has an MBA. She seems to like it. She’s very aggressive in life though and I’m sure she’s taken every bit of advantage of her education.
Jay Gaulard says
I agree, you really do need to use the degree for what it is. If you want to become a plumber, don’t bother getting an MBA. This is a degree for the hard hitting business world. If you want to work in NYC in business, you’ll need an MBA from preferably a top school.
I once worked for a consulting firm that required an advanced degree to get anywhere above the most basic of jobs. It was a terrible job that a chimp could do, no matter how high one was up on the totem pole. The reason for the advanced degree requirement was so the company could put that qualification on business cards and letterhead. That sort of thing. It was very academic. Sort of like college where all the professors and administrators give each other awards and pat each other on the backs all day. Everything with these people is reputation and resume building.