Is an MBA really worth it? (2023)


Earning an MBA (Master of Business Administration) requires a lot of time, money and effort. So it's important to really think about whether or not it's worth pursuing one. Here are some things to consider.

  • The right reasons: honing skills like influencing, empathizing, and building business strategies; to help you make a career turn; accelerate the pace of your professional development; to expand and diversify your professional network.
  • The wrong reasons: you're looking for a magic pill that will give you more money or power; You are bored in your current role; You do not know what you want.

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(Video) Is the MBA worth it? (2022)

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MBA or not MBA? This is the doubt of many young professionals.

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a graduate degree that focuses on developing leadership skills and learning business principles. But for most students, MBAs offer much more than that: a stronger professional network, access to job opportunities and a higher salary.

Some of these benefits manifest themselves before others. Those accepted into top-tier programs gain almost immediate access to experienced staff who can help them make connections, and can expect a significant salary increase upon graduation. The average salary of graduates from top schools is usually aroundsix digits.

But sometimes it can take a few years before the full effects of an MBA are felt, and if you're in it for the wrong reasons, you might not get the results you want.

Given the amount of time, money, and effort an MBA really takes, it's important to think about where you fit into that equation before deciding whether or not one is worth pursuing for you.

For the last ten years, part of my job as Executive Director of the Career Management Center at the Kellogg School of Management has been to advise students about their careers and help potential candidates evaluate that decision. Based on my experience, here are some things to consider when discussing this yourself.

the right reasons

To prepare your career for the future.In my daily conversations with MBA alumni and executives, I hear about the importance of "future-ready skills." But what does this really mean? This means that more and more companies are trying to come out of the pandemic stronger by changing and adapting their business models. Hiring the right talent with the right skills is an important part of that. They must have the same mindset. Ask yourself, "How can I increase my skills and abilities to be best suited for these roles?"

The skills many organizations are looking for range from empathy and team management to understanding how to think ahead, set strategic goals and influence stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. Students who want to develop influence-related skills often have unique opportunities to do so during their MBA experience.

Many participate in case study contests that mimic the challenges businesses face today and require students to present solutions to a panel of judges. Importantly, everyone in these programs also learns how to improve their communication and collaboration skills by participating in group projects with people from all walks of life. Soft skills like these, along with rigorous analytical work, are key to MBA studies.

An MBA can be the key to gaining the experience you need to have a competitive edge in the job market, and that's not a bad reason to look for one.

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To explore new industries or functions.If you want a foundational career, an MBA can help you meet that challenge with your eyes wide open. The Business School is a great time to meet peers, faculty, and an alumni network from diverse professional backgrounds, as well as class projects and case studies that delve deeper into different industries and sectors.

Let's take the example of a student I recently spoke with. He has two career ambitions: entering the biopharmaceutical industry and one day leading an organization. She decided that an MBA would allow her to achieve both of these goals, as she would be exposed to resources that would help her learn and transition into a new industry more easily and gain the leadership skills she needed by Grade 10 or even Grade 20. series. years. the road will need it.

Some students even come to business school to pursue an entrepreneurial path. They typically create their own startups or join early-stage companies, including those founded by alumni.

Remember that with the MBA you can apply to most industries. For people who don't yet know which industry is right for them, there are a number of specializations and concentrations you can explore within these programs, such as strategy, corporate finance, and operations.

That said, even if your heart is in the right place, I recommend doing your research and maybe even getting a few years of practical work experience to figure out what areas you want to focus on before you graduate. Once you join, you'll want to choose the classes, opportunities, and events that meet your ambitions and make the most of your time.

To accelerate your career.Not everyone pursuing an MBA wants to make a drastic change. Many would like to accelerate the pace of their professional development in a specific industry or at their current company. Part of that includes access to higher-paying, higher-level jobs.

The median starting salary for MBA graduates (Class of 2020) is $20,000 per year, based on those with a bachelor's degree in business administration.National Association of Colleges and Employers. But that is not all. Graduates of top MBA programs oftenthe country's positionthat put her on an accelerated path to leadership. The reason is simple: Employers expect graduates of these programs to have the academic, interpersonal, and leadership skills to solve complex business problems.

Accelerated MBA programs are also an option for people who want to earn their degree in less time. Kellogg launched the firstone-year MBA programfor over 50 years for candidates with the focus and discipline to graduate in 12 months and other schools likeCornellYHerzogadded similar offers. The accelerated option isn't for everyone, but if you're business savvy and need speed, this could be the answer.

To expand and diversify your network.Part of enrolling in a business school is becoming part of a community of well-connected future leaders and alumni. At Kellogg, our global alumni network includes 65,000 people from more than 15 industries. These connections add up and the case is similar for many programs. I recently spoke with a graduate who applied for a job at a large e-commerce technology company and found himself stuck in the hiring process. A licensee associated with this company made an inquiry, determined that the problem was a delay in Human Resources, and made a recommendation that prompted her application.

Most MBA programs offer access toNetworksClub and employer events, as well as affinity networking and student-led conferences – all opportunities that can broaden your reach and, in turn, your chances of success in the business world.

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(Video) Is an MBA Really Worth It In 2021? - Do NOT Apply For an MBA Until You’ve Watched This Video!
(Video) Is MBA Worth It?

the wrong reasons

You're looking for a magic pill.An MBA is not a "golden ticket" that automatically entitles you to jobs with higher pay and more responsibility. It takes passion, initiative and hard work to expand your knowledge and skills. And MBA programs are just that: I work a lot. Most students who enroll have a track record of career success and strive to advance. I would not recommend signing up if your goal is just to gain money or power.

If you have doubts about your current role or are struggling to progress at the pace you want, there are other steps you can take first. For example, you can improve at work by asking your manager for a challenging project in your area of ​​interest and getting critical feedback from him. You can also try building relationships with people whose careers you admire to find out what they did to get to where they are. With that level of commitment, you can learn more about what you really want, set new goals, and get the most out of an MBA program should you decide to do one later.

Your parents offer to pay for it.While it's tempting to enlist your parents' financial support, don't let that be the only reason you're applying to a business school. You really have to be "all in" - for yourself and your career. Students who get the most out of business school and will benefit in the future are those who want to grow academically, professionally and personally.

If you're not totally into it, there are plenty of other ways to learn about new concepts and industries without breaking the bank.large sum of money. You can use online platforms, attend conferences or even join volunteer programs to build your skills and network.

Speaking of money, it's worth mentioningCost is something to consider when considering a business school. Around51%of MBA students end up taking out a student loan to finance their studies. At the same time, cost alone should not be the deciding factor. There are many other ways to pay for an MBA, such as scholarships and employer sponsorships.

Are you bored.You are bored with your current job and have no other options at the moment. So the default setting is to go to trade school. On the right? Incorrect. This is probably not the right move, at least not until you think about it a bit more. Boredom can take the form of frustration: not being recognized, not getting better projects, seeing others promoted. This is an invitation to stop and reflect: why do these opportunities go to other people and not to you? What skills are needed? Will it change the way others perceive you? By reflecting on these questions, you can gain insight into your current situation. Otherwise, you might end up asking yourself, "Why did I go to business school in the first place?"

That's the real question: why? Keep thinking about where you are, where you want to go, and what it takes to get there. This is the only way to make the right choice.


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