Is MBA worth it for me?

mba-worth-it-for-meWhether we like it or not, almost all of us have thought about this question somewhere in our lives. Should I do an MBA? Is an MBA really worth it? While some want to follow the herd and assume that by paying those hefty checks to Universities they will resolve all their career issues, there are others who would really like to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of doing an MBA and to figure out whether they should really do it. This post tries to evaluate the options for you and try helping you making a right decision.

What I have in store are detailed posts where I will try to answer and analyze this question for you. (Don’t worry the second post is ready and will be live soon). By the way a small disclaimer though. I am on the other side of the fence that is I am currently doing an online MBA course and certain thoughts that are put forth may be a direct result of my experiences. Applying your common sense in your career decisions is highly recommended!

It seems MBA today has become a panacea for all career problems. And there are a gazillion reasons why this is the case today. You can end up doing an MBA whatever your background is. An MBA doesn’t ask for a graduate degree is Business. You can be an engineer, art student or any niche subject that we have not heard of. If you are willing to pay the time and money, an MBA university is standing right down the corner.

So Is an MBA really worth? Should I consider doing an MBA course? If yes what type of. Whether fulltime, part time, online? Will it give me a promotion? Can MBA help me start my own business? For all these questions the quickest answer is “Well, It depends”.

Following are the key things that one should thoroughly think about before deciding on an MBA. These points will even help analyze the best MBA course for you.

  1. What is an MBA: Though many consider it as nirvana (pun intended). MBA is nothing more than just a Masters course in Business. Why I am highlighting this point first is to set the right expectations. There is no course where you pay a bunch of dollars and come out with lifetime success. But at the same time if you look forward to gaining knowledge which you will further research and act upon thoroughly (believe me its really going to be tough) than MBA is something made for you.
  2. The opportunity cost of MBA: Before thinking about an MBA do calculate the opportunity cost of doing the same. Incase if you plan full time you are going to sacrifice that monthly cheque that your employer pays you and even after that once you are back in the cubicle you would have to struggle for a few years repaying the loan you took to pay your MBA fees. No income and more loans to repay. If the basic math doesn’t work out well, you immediately need to stop and rethink if you really want to do an MBA. May be a Masters course or a Certificate course which works in your industry is more important than getting an MBA.
  3. What is your need to do an MBA: Now this is not same for the whole herd. Some do an MBA to increase their chance of getting promoted, some want to completely change their profession, and some might want to learn for the sake of knowledge. Define your need very clearly, think about it and try to answer the “what if” questions. What if the need is not satisfied, what if my future plan changes, what if the economy changes. You don’t need to get down wasting a week on this but yes a couple of hours will be worth good future.
  4. The right time for doing an MBA: Try to analyze the courses available and your current status. Is an MBA fit? Should you quit the corporate world or try a distance education course. There are special executive courses, fast track semesters and than there is these full blown general management degrees. Which one is apt for you? Your decision may also get inspired by other personal choices like marriage, planning a child, planning a startup, retirement plans etc. All this needs to be considered for such a course.
  5. Alternative Analysis: You need to do some gap analysis on whether MBA is the course that fills the gap or any other alternative is available. If you just need to know how to market your product, or how to understand finances may be an MBA would be a huge exaggeration to your requirements. This point very aptly derives from the need point.
  6. Future Prospects: Where do you see yourself in next 5 – 10 years? With MBA and without one. What are the prospects of your company, or even the industry? With more and more specializations coming into MBA courses you even need to gauge the scope and lifetime of the specialization you are doing an MBA from.
  7. Finally Research!: There is no alternative to solid research. Ask and touch base with as many acquaintances that are or plan to be an MBA. What are their reasons and plans to complete the same? May be there are certain areas that you have not even thought of. Which universities are better? What is their thought on the – you, post MBA. All these things matter. It’s a big investment in terms of time and money and you better be serious if you are looking forward to be a Master in Business. Research, Research and research more.

So that’s about what things you should analyze to answer the question is MBA really worth it for me. In the coming posts I will go further and show you reasons why an MBA should be completely avoided in certain situations. Until then, keep researching these basic questions and Act to achieve your career goals.

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King Sidharth August 31, 2010 at 10:58 am

You know what? I was one of those too! “I am gonna do MBA!” lol
But then I learned it wasn’t for me, at all. I mean for God’s sake I like making my own way and they are gonna teach me “the” ways?

I know that might not sound radical or rational but then jumping through hoops for MBA not rational either… just another rat race, even if you win.. you’re still a rat!

Now before I turn this into a rant. I must thank you for writing the words “Opportunity Cots” – provoked a lot of thinking and resulted in clarity. As you profoundly said, “Applying your common sense in your career decisions is highly recommended!”

Malorie Ellestad October 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Going through MBA is very expensive. You need to think first before you start it. I personally want to have my MBA because I want to get promoted :) I hope all of you also have good reason to have an MBA. If not, then don’t do it.

Marie S. October 29, 2010 at 12:40 am

I couldn’t of said it better myself :) I had thought I wanted an MBA for a couple years and did a lot of research about programs and more so which schools were best. After long consideration I decided on Thunderbird. Then I was promoted within my company and I felt unsure that an MBA was what I needed at the time. So I did as you’d say an alternative analysis. I realized I could still go to the school I thought had the best options, but rather than an MBA I’d go for one of their executive education courses that will focus just on my industry. So I completely agree make sure an MBA is what you want and if not that’s okay, find what’s best for you and your career.

mohini sharma December 18, 2010 at 10:48 am

I dont know you will believe it or not but I was thinking to do MBA in HR :) now I think I should wait for some time till I get job.

Himanshu Chanda December 18, 2010 at 11:05 am

Oops another reader enlightened 😛 I believe I should charge reading this post..
Ok on a serious note since I know you personally, yup I would advise you to go slow and postpone your MBA

Sourabh Tiwary January 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I feel it all depends on one’s perspective. As an individual you will have to research and evaluate whether an MBA is good for you or not, and to top it, if you need one? For me, and the way my career is shaping up, I believe I need an MBA (full-time) to reach my career goals.

Ro June 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Hello – can someone help me? I actually have my MA in Counseling and have been thinking of changing careers. I am mainly interested in finance or human resources. I want a change to be honest because the Mental Health field is having big cutbacks…at this rate I will not be able to be financially secure. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts if this would be a helpful degree for me? Thanks!

loi August 17, 2011 at 8:43 am

I’m thinking to have MBA degree, to have a career growth. After reading this I made up my mind I still have the eagerness to have it in future. I’d loved to have knowledge about it. Doing something about it.. and have it is my vision. ^_^

Martin November 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Getting an MBA made a huge difference for me. I chose to go for it because I was stuck in a low-paying career with little opportunity for advancement and I wanted a complete career shift. I did a full-time program for 2 years, but the job I got right out of B-school paid more than double what I was earning before, so it really was an investment that will have paid for itself after only a few years.

Nicole September 21, 2012 at 4:40 am

Thanks so much Martin for saying what you JUST said. I am currently in graduate school getting my MBA with a concentration in Entreprenuership. I want to apply my knowledge to the music industry. I think it will work very well because I have years of experience in this field.

Thanks for your input gave me a lil push tonight as I stay up and do my feasiblity analysis for new ventures hw.

Nicole :)

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