If you’re considering doing an MBA you’re probably very familiar with the claimed benefits already: career advancement, substantial additional earning capability, and a competitive advantage over other job applicants. But is this still the case?
We recently discussed how the investment for an undergraduate degree is becoming more questionable. Well, with MBA’s becoming more common, is an MBA worth the investment today?
Are MBA’s Worth The Investment?
It’s true that MBAs are no longer as rare as they were back in the 1980s, but they do still make it easier to either make that jump to the next level up the corporate ladder, or to just get started on the ladder to begin with? It’s also probably the best path for someone wanting to switch careers from say engineering or the sciences.
In terms of earnings, the advantages are less clear. One study suggested that the proliferation of MBA courses has not deflated its value unduly, with estimated increases of between 18% and 53% over those without the qualification. Other more recent commentators point to a general decline in executive remuneration (including restrictions on bonuses), which may not outweigh the costs of completing the course.
Full-time or Part-time?
It is this cost calculation that requires the most careful consideration, as course fees will be considerable. Prices will vary depending on how you choose to study. Full-time study for two years (or, in some exceptional cases, one year of intensive study) may be possible, depending on your financial situation and family commitments.
Another option is to do an MBA part time over three or four years, or in the case of an executive MBA which is designed for those already professionally employed, perhaps two years. Both of these options allow for you to spread the costs – living and maintenance can be met out of current salary, rather than being an additional burden. However, none of these options are cheap.
A two-year course at a prestigious American business school may cost well in excess of £150,000. Before committing to this scale of investment you need to ask yourself some serious questions, such as:
- Will this pay off financially in the long run?
- Am I committed, organised and motivated enough to complete the course? And do I have the support of my family?
- Do I really require all the elements of a full-blown MBA, or do I really just need to take some “top up” courses in finance, marketing or management, etc.?
Make Sure You Do Your Research
If you do decide to go ahead with the course, then do plenty of research. MBAs are international commodities, and savings can be made by studying abroad (even foreign universities often teach in English.) There is also the relatively new phenomenon of on-line MBAs, which offer flexibility and considerable savings. Neither option may have quite the prestige or glamour of the top colleges but they just might get you where you want to be.
A final word of advice… if you do decide to go ahead with an MBA be prepared to work hard and dedicate your time to studying. It’s a serious investment in your future, and not to be taken lightly.
Image by nasrulekram used under the Creative Commons license