I’ve been asked over and over by success-oriented college students whether or not I believe an MBA is worth it. Unfortunately, there isn’t just one answer to that question because everyone’s situation and reasoning is different. First, I usually ask the following questions, which then set the stage for my answer.
- Why do you feel it’s important to get an MBA?
- Where are you planning to get your MBA and how certain are you that the school you want will accept you?
- How will you be paying for this advanced degree and if you are taking loans out for it how long will you likely be paying on those loans before they are satisfied?
MBA: Necessity or Accessory?
An MBA is an incredible education. I know many people with one, and they are very sharp. I do not have an MBA, however. To me, this degree isn’t completely necessary in order to be wildly successful. I am quite certain that there are as many senior level leaders in America in big and small companies without an MBA as there are with one.
My bias: almost everything you can learn from an MBA you can learn someplace else, that is, if you want to. Sure, it will take longer than 2 years to acquire that knowledge, and you will be guiding your own education, but you also won’t be saddled with more (or new) student debt. In fact, the average student debt from an MBA program can surpass $100k, and that necessitates a monthly payback of $1,200 a month for 10 years. Yes, if you have the right MBA, that’s a great investment. But, what’s the “right MBA?”
Reasons To Get An MBA
The way I see it, there are 2 no-brainer reasons to get an MBA.
The first reason is if you can get into one of the top 10-20 MBA programs, such as Harvard, Yale, Colgate, Darden, Wharton, Columbia, Stanford, MIT, University of Chicago, Dartmouth, and Northwestern. There, not only is the education superb, but the connections and relationships you make will leverage over your lifetime, making these worth whatever they cost, in my view. However, if you can’t get into a school that has the education AND the connections to propel your success, then think hard before you say yes.
The second reason to get an MBA from anywhere other than the top schools is if someone else is paying for your school. If your employer will let you go and will pay for some or all of it, then it’s a no-brainer. What you will learn from an MBA will indeed help you succeed in business and can be used as a force multiplier. Just remember this: the average C-suite executive reportedly makes about $440k a year. If you can use your MBA to get that kind of position, then it’s worth it. If not, then the school of “hard knocks” PLUS a commitment to lifelong learning is the way to go.
Keys to Success Without an MBA
First, always be a lifelong learner. Second, take a look at these 3 helpful actions to take if you decide not to pursue the MBA but still desperately want financial success.
- Subscribe to a book summary service. Read It For Me is the best I have found. You get a business book summary every day, and each one you can complete in 12 minutes.
- Subscribe to 4 or 5 blogs, and supplement your learning that way.
- Take advantage of virtual training. You can spend less than $900 for a virtual training program on Entrepreneurship by Daymond John, and in less than a year, you’ll know everything most MBA’s know. If you want to be great at selling and leading sales people, you can take my virtual training for under $900, and in a matter of a few weeks to 2 months, you can know as much about selling and goal setting as you ever need to know to make a seven-figure income.
THE MBA is an awesome advanced degree to have, but it’s not for everyone. Make sure it’s the right thing for you.