Should I Get an MBA ?

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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether or not I should consider getting an MBA. In conversations with business people, academics and friends, I’ve gotten pretty mixed responses about what the perceived value of an MBA is. There are tons of articles out there siting both the benefits and disadvantages of an MBA.

A mentor of mine who has an MBA in addition to a number of other credentials states he thinks the market is saturated with MBAs and so I’d be better off getting a more technical credential such as an accounting designation. His reasoning is that these days, specific skill sets and applied education are more marketable to employers.

Part of the reason why I want to get an MBA is because I would like to get some more formal education. I learn a lot from reading, keeping up to date with the latest industry trends and having great conversations, but it isn’t quite the same as completing a MBA. I remember when I was finishing my undergraduate degree in business administration and I took fantastic class on business strategy. Working with my professor and with my peers, I challenged myself in ways that I just don’t get to do anymore. There was something invigorating about trying to solve business problems with a group of people who are all highly invested in the outcome.

Josh Kaufman wrote a great book called “The Personal MBA“, which delves into this subject at length. The primary idea in his book is that an MBA can be useful; however, it depends on what you want to do with it. He argues that if you want to be an entrepreneur, then classroom learning might not the right fit. As an entrepreneur, I’ve always learned best by trial and error. Another factor he raises is cost. The reality is that MBAs can be extremely expensive these days and depending on the type of job or project you work on after graduation, it could be years before you recoup the benefit from lost time and money.

At this point, I’m still on the fence on whether or not an MBA is the right choice for me. I do want to work towards building a venture but i’m not sure if an MBA will get me there.

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4 comments

  1. Matt, thanks for writing this piece. I’m actually going through the same issue, though not exactly yet. I’m a late bloomer, academically speaking, and am transferring to New York to finish my business undergrad. Since I plan to be an entrepreneur/work in small business, I’ve been curious whether an MBA will be appropriate to plan for.

    The undergrad is all paid for by scholarships and grants; I have a feeling I’d have to go into debt for an MBA. For me, the debt, and time loss as you mentioned, most likely wont be worth it.

  2. Thanks for reading the post! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve found that most people don’t see the benefit of going for an MBA when the debt would follow them around for years. Good luck with your undergrad!

  3. I’m an aerospace engineering undergrad who wants to get his MBA too (I’m dreaming about Wharton someday). However, lately I’ve been wondering if it’s even worth getting a business degree at all and if just getting a masters in my field is a better option. If it’s true that you can learn all the MBA stuff through trial and error, why not forgo the concept of a business degree entirely?

    1. Trying to determine the value of an MBA is a bit of a conundrum. I’ve heard people say that MBA looks good on paper but isn’t really really useful in practice. That being said, if your undergrad is in another field other than business, then maybe a master’s degree in business will actually give you an advantage!

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