To MBA, or not to MBA, that is the… ?

Investing in an MBA program is a personal and potentially bank-busting experience, thus, some are asking if it is all worth the expense. Others consider it as an absolute necessity.

Well, why bother with an MBA as one CEO (without a postgraduate degree) was recently quoted as stating about this degree: “… experience outweighs all, simply because the practical outweighs the theoretical..!”

And another stated: “…..the relevance and value of work experience is much more attractive to an employer”.

You can now sigh with relief as the anguish over mortgaging your future for an MBA has been resolved – go get the experience!

For a little trivia: on any one day there are about 350,000 MBA candidates sitting in a classroom around the world. For India alone, there are over 350,000 MBA applicants per year!

Why?

Maybe these applicants would be best advised to stop ‘wasting their time’ and go get the experience.

If you are a doubter of the education vs experience proposition, then fear not: “….experience is only half about learning, the other half is about building a network…” as another commentator was quoted.

So, go build a network of business connections – that will fix it!

Well, do you think your boss was appointed on her experience, academic credentials or network of connections – or a combination of the above?

MBA schools will tell you that their degree will enhance your promotion prospects. Some research suggests that your salary may be up to 50% higher after the MBA than before. This statistic (remember lies, lies, and damn statistics) will naturally include annual salary increments over the duration of the MBA program.

Will it, or will it not enhance your salary?

The benefits presented in favor of an MBA generally revolve around these factors:

Knowledge, skills and networking can all be gained outside an MBA. However, competency building does not stand alone and outside of the context of your job – and/or your aspirations.

They are core to it!

But:          Knowledge for what?;
                Skills for what?; and
                Networking to what end?

An MBA on its own will not enhance your promotions prospects, unless of course it is a prerequisite in the selection process. But, one should not discount the fact that employers also want to see the value an individual brings to an organization.

The personal benefit and value-add of the MBA is influenced by many factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Your MBA school’s reputation;
  • Your post-MBA role;
  • Your value-adding performance;
  • Geographic location of your job;
  • Industry you are employed in;
  • Cost of living;
  • Pre-MBA experience; and
  • Undergraduate major.

At the end of the day, the MBA candidate needs to assess how important the course is to enhancing personal career prospects within their current organization or the organization (or industry sector) they wish to join.

An MBA can be an insurance policy; but not one you can buy the night before the promotion interview, thus, considerable forethought has to go into the initial decision.

So: should you MBA, or not MBA? That is the question!

And, why so?

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