When I started university a couple of years ago, getting an MBA after finishing my degree was something I was considering quite seriously. My mind has since changed and this blog post by Bob Sutton (who wrote “The No Asshole Rule“), Why Management is Not a Profession, gives food for thought about the real value of an MBA:

The discussion about the “value” of the MBA always seems to end — no matter where it starts and no matter what nuances are discussed by Pfeffer and others — with a focus on how much money it puts (or doesn’t put) in the recipient’s pocket.

The End of Business Schools? Less Success Than Meets the Eye has two interresting findings:

  1. Don’t bother if you’re not going to one of the top 10 business schools. You won’t make more money and you will actually lose two years of salary.
  2. There is no relationship between grades and salary at the top 10 schools. Only the networking that happens there is important.

    Business school professors really hate this one, as it means that those students who do as little work in classes as possible, and devote all their time to networking, are acting in economically rational ways.

So that’s the money perspective about an MBA. What about what you learn from getting an MBA:

There is remarkably little conversation about whether it teaches people to do a better job of helping and serving clients, employees, or anyone else. (…) the societal message — and it is often quite explicit — is that the most effective managers take as much money as possible for themselves from their clients.

Getting an MBA is far from my mind right now. I really believe you can make a more than decent living without it happening to the detriment of people around you.

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One Response to Is an MBA Worth It?

  1. lsg says:

    I am planning on completely the MBA as part of a dual degree program starting in the spring. I agree that this may add little to my overall value to an employer. I personally enjoy learning and the MBA program can not be any dryer than my Software Engineering program. As for the cost, my employer is footing the bill. One of the last benefits left after they did away with our retirement plan.

    In regards to your point about networking…truer words were never spoken. Who you know, always has and alway will be the most important thing to ever learn. For those of you that can not acquire the taste for kissing *ss, the corporate world is not for you! The corporate world is sales…selling yourself. Learning to laugh out loud at anything uttered above your paygrade is a skill with acquiring.

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