Is Getting an MBA Worth It?
By, Kate Manning
With national as well as global economics taking a recent turn for the worse, many question the necessity (or the even possibility of) pursuing higher education: especially an MBA. Getting your MBA is no small matter – the price, the prestige and the time along with many other factors make it a big decision. However, if you are considering getting an MBA, it is important to realize that it might not hold the same value it did several years ago.
A master’s degree in business is a title many wish to hold for several different reasons. It is a prestigious title that marks your hard work, dedication to your education and subsequent career. Many employers take note of it as well. It also offers the possibility to improve your academic record after you complete your undergraduate studies. That is, a student who had a “B” average as an undergrad can work to achieve an “A” average as a graduate student. While there are many valuable aspects of earning your MBA, there are also many obvious pitfalls in pursing this path.
Clearly, education has been severely impacted since the start of the recent economic recession. Each year, students across the nation are finding that it is becoming harder and harder to pay tuition fees for undergraduate classes, let alone those for a higher degree. Those who jump directly into the workforce after their undergraduate studies for a business administration degree will find themselves having to quickly pay off their student loans, perhaps even having to do so in a less than favorable job market. As we all know, the job market for college graduates is not an easy one and may never be again. Therefore, predictions about job security – whether you have a bachelor’s or a masters- and the overall employment outlook can only be taken with a grain of salt, regardless of their source.
Ultimately, the question one has to ask themselves when considering the pursuit of an MBA is, “Does the pay-off justify the cost and time invested in getting the degree?”
Student debt is a scary monster to many undergrads and it often deters them from post-graduate studies. Their rationale is that the more time they spend in school, the more debt they accumulate and the less time they will have to work. Likewise, once they finally do graduate, they will be several years behind in terms of full time work experience when compared to their counterparts who have bachelor’s degrees.
Recently, the New York Times held an open forum where they invited several professors and company owners to talk about the cost and value of an MBA. One of the conclusions drawn was that student debt was actually quite exaggerated. While student debt is a real problem, it is not the large monster that many think it is. The media along with loan-forgiveness proponents have created a typhoon of student debt rumors that have circulated the nation and fallen upon almost all student ears.
However, pursuing an MBA can have advantages though when considering student debt: it prolongs your studies and, with certain subsidized government loans, allows you longer time to “ride out the storm” so to speak. What this means is that those going on to pursue an MBA after receiving their BA will have more time to wait until both the national economy and post-graduate job markets improve. Those who jump directly into the workforce after their undergraduate studies will find themselves having to quickly pay off their student loans, perhaps even having to do so in a less than favorable job market. Although, as previously stated, the job market as well as the national economic forecast is something that is quite volatile. There is no telling with absolute certainty what may happen in the next couple years, but the time spent pursuing an MBA may actually work in your favor.
If you do decide to receive a Masters in Business Administration or another similar post-graduate degree, you will certainly find the benefit of appearing much more marketable to potential employers. Being able to list a post-graduate degree on your resume proves your ardent dedication to your studies and your major. It shows you are passionate and serious about learning as well as doing, and this is something that can mean the difference between you and the next person getting that job. The Harvard Business School shows the expanded statistics for their MBA program of the past six years. It is clear from their data that those who chose to obtain an MBA receive not only a higher base salary compared to those with only a bachelor’s degree, but also receive higher signing bonuses as well as quicker job acceptance with no lower than at least 70 percent of graduates receiving and accepting a job offer by graduation date for any year.
The education bubble of today can be a scary one and deciding to pursue a post-graduate degree sets many people on edge. Yet an MBA can be extremely valuable if you approach it in the correct manner. You must make sure that you are ready for the dedication of both time and money to post-graduate studies and know that there is no guarantee as to where the U.S. will be in terms of job availability in the coming years. However, if you do decide to pursue an MBA, you will most likely reap the benefits of doing so in both personal gratification as well as in your professional career.
This post has been updated January 26, 2016.