Is an Expensive MBA Degree Worth Your Time and Money?
You are considering an MBA after college and maybe a few years of work experience. But you’re undecided because even though you know that an MBA will give you a professional edge, it comes at a considerable cost – in terms of both time and money.
So your hedge and dither: is an MBA really worth it?
The answer is yes. Especially if you intend to or are working in a management role, business-related field or if you want to start a company.
The MBA Degree
The MBA or Master of Business Administration is a graduate degree that provides advanced theoretical and practical training in business and management. The training could be focused on a particular field, such as accounting, finance, or management. Or it could have a broader focus to include all the disciplines above. An MBA isn’t just for people in business alone, those in managerial positions in the public sector, and government services can also benefit from an MBA.
MBA programs are usually centered around management training, with a focus on business strategy, planning, leadership, and organizational behavior. The core classes covered include finance, management, marketing, accounting, and business law.
There are also elective courses that allow participants to pursue their personal and professional interests. Some business schools may require that MBA candidates join a company or organization for an internship program. This may culminate in a job opportunity after the MBA.
Top business schools prefer their candidates with some years of working experience before joining the MBA program. Other requirements include:
- A Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores
- Letter of reference
- Academic transcripts
- Statement of purpose on why the candidate wants to pursue an MBA
- IELTS or TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers
The MBA program started at universities in the US at the turn of the 20th century. Today, there are more than 2,500 MBA programs worldwide, and they keep on evolving to keep up with the demands of modern times.
Although MBA programs usually have a two-year duration, one-year programs are also available. Online and part-time programs are available for professionals with little time to pursue a full-time one year or two-year program. According to a Study.com article, an MBA program candidate will need between 50-70 credits to graduate.
Executive MBA programs are for professionals with many years of experience in management. Hence, they tend to focus on advanced subjects such as leadership development.
How Much Does an MBA Cost?
An MBA from a top business school will cost between $60,000 to $ 100,000 and take up about 2 years of your life.
It’s not cheap, in fact, in 2019, the annual tuition of a Harvard Business School MBA is $72,000 and that does not include other possible costs. Unless of course if you get some sort of scholarship, that amount can be reduced.
You do not have to go to Harvard or Stanford to get your MBA. there are other smaller school programs that are more affordable. Here’s a list of the top 10 affordable MBA programs in the US.
The MBA Salary
Although costly, most students see an MBA as an investment in their future simply because of its high earning potential.
We cannot blame them, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers ( NACE), salary projections for the class of 2019, the starting average salary is more than $84,000 which is way more than that of those with a bachelor’s degree.
With regards to promotions at work, MBA grads are also at an advantage. An MBA can be the ticket to management positions.
Good luck getting into consulting or finance without an MBA.- Suzy Welch
Should You Get an MBA?
In today’s highly competitive business world, an MBA is totally worth your investment in time and money. An MBA, especially from a top business school, will deepen your professional skills as well as give you lots of advantages. These include higher salaries, a robust professional network, getting a management position, and running your own business.
Why an MBA is Worth it:
Develop Valuable Skills
Business schools teach you valuable skills that will advance your professional career. Although most MBA candidates are interested in careers in finance and management, they acquire additional skills which can find application in a myriad of other business fields.
An increasing number of MBA graduates are working in tech, retail, health care, non-profits, civil service, and many other industries.
Some of the skills mastered in an MBA program such as problem-solving skills, critical thinking and analysis, leadership and intellectual curiosity will be of tremendous help to you as you make your way towards your ultimate career goal.
Some MBA graduates may begin with a stint in wall street only to find out that it wasn’t the right place for them. They may then venture into other areas of business where they thrive with the knowledge and skill acquired in the MBA program. An MBA program will help you understand the intricacies of the business world, which will be of tremendous advantage to you in any position you may find yourself.
An MBA will enable you to keep challenging yourself as you move out of your comfort zone, apply the latest management techniques, and keep up with current changes in international business.
Access to an Extensive Professional Network.
In an MBA program, you’ll get to interact with talented professionals across all fields – professors and academic staff (who are business people with managerial experience), and fellow students. These are great networking opportunities which will enhance your experience and business capabilities by exposing you to different cultures and points of view.
You should make sure to utilize the networking opportunities presented during your MBA studies. These connections will give you a broader view of the business world. You’ll have a deeper understanding of international business and can make connections between seemingly unrelated global events.
For most people, the network of contacts which they build is the most valuable aspect of the MBA program. You’ll have an alumni network which connects you to the business school and to plenty of professional opportunities that will prove invaluable throughout your career. This certainly makes the $100,000 price tag and 2 years of your life worth it.
Higher Employment Rates
An MBA will improve your chances of securing top jobs within your industry. Even in your current employment, you will have better job security and be on track for rapid career advancement. According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 96 percent of responding recruiters agreed that employing MBA graduates creates excellent value for their organization.
The MBA degree also helps you to stand out in a crowded market place. Some companies will not consider candidates without an MBA, which goes to show how much it is valued in the business world. They believe an MBA from a top business school will bring some level of business skill and insight to the job right off the bat.
While years of experience is of great value in the workplace, and managers who have gone up the ranks knows the business in and out and can deliver results, companies hire MBAs for their ability to handle complex challenges in the face of a rapidly changing business environment. With their advanced knowledge and exposure, MBA employees often bring a fresh perspective to solving business problems and improving processes.
Some MBA programs let you specialize in a particular area. If you are interested in something specific like real estate, digital marketing, health care, and others, going after an MBA with a concentration in your area of interest is beneficial.
There are advantages to going deeper into the nuances of a particular industry. Knowing precisely what you want in your career and becoming highly skilled in that area gives you a tremendous advantage. You’ll become more marketable and will stand out in a competitive job market.
Starting Your Own Business
Some people obtain an MBA to help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. An MBA will impact business skills and knowledge which you need to start and run a new business. You can even apply such knowledge to help an existing business grow. A lot of MBA graduates have gone on to start their own businesses successfully.
If you can afford it, an MBA is worth it, especially from a highly regarded business school. It offers you a tremendous advantage in the business world. You’ll be in a better position to get high paying jobs, move up in your organization, start your own business, and build a strong professional network.