In this podcast “Find a Job Like a Pro” episode #4, we are talking about MBAs – is it worth it?!
We’re kind of in an era right now when the younger generation doesn’t even find value in getting a degree. My son who’s been home schooled for the last few years is now applying for a college but he doesn’t see a necessity to get this bachelor degree. So there’s definitely something to be said about that!
You can also listen to the podcast over here:
When it comes to an MBA my biggest advice first and foremost is to know your industry and know if that’s something your industry needs. In general, for my sector, which is financial services, and any other professional sphere, an MBA is probably a great thing but the question is: does the role need it?
Consider the investment vs the outcome
What happens with an MBA is that a lot of people go and they take it but because their roles or professions don’t require it, they’re not really getting an increase in compensation because now they have an MBA. Some companies might do it but many others don’t. I know a company which adds MBA to their salary algorithm but most companies don’t do this.
I really encourage you to think about this carefully because this kind of education is expensive, it can be anywhere between 50k to 100k, and it’s also a big time investment! If you’re spending money on getting a degree – hopefully, you’ll earn it back. But “time” is something you don’t get back! So you have to really think whether it makes sense to you.
I have a candidate right now who worked for 9 years in operations and client servicing within my industry, took some time off and now she’s getting her MBA. But, guess what, the role in the sphere she’s in and her experience is still going to be the reason why companies will want to speak with her. Just because she has an MBA does not equate to her getting other roles since she already has a long-term experience in one area. So, in this case, her MBA is costing almost 100k but positions she’s interviewing for are still similar in the scope and duties to what she was doing before. So in this case, the MBA did not directly help her – albeit impressive and commendable – MBAs don’t always translate into a necessity for a role and thus an increase in compensation.
On my end, I’ve learned that having this degree doesn’t mean that much. At the same time, complex positions that require a lot of knowledge and expertise are still asking for MBA’s and it’s extremely relevant. So again – know your industry!
Will it help you professionally?
For many of us, including myself, if we’d get an MBA right now it’d just be a total waste of money and time. I’ve always wanted to get an MBA but it wouldn’t serve me any purpose in my profession, in recruitment, it wouldn’t professionally help me make more money. It’d certainly be a great accomplishment! But it wouldn’t help me financially and honestly the MBA does not add credibility to my experience at this point.
On the other hand, there are a lot of great programs where Summer internships are offered during the program and after completing the MBA you land a job and start working full time right away and usually command a low six figures if you are considered entry level. Those roles definitely command having this education.
If you decide to get an MBA, I recommend going to a good school, make the effort, study hard! Going to an online school is not the best choice especially compared to the investment and results you get out of it. So be careful and be cautious! Because we can’t get back our time… and money spent is money gone!
When is the right time to get an MBA?
Another thing I don’t like about MBAs is the fact that many young professionals get it right after completing their a Bachelor degree. An MBA is something you need to be able to apply with your work experience. A bachelor degree is more about getting the degree and being able to work in that field. For MBAs, companies prefer a four to eight year gap between the Bachelor’s and MBAs when you’re working so after you get your MBA, you can apply those years of business and experience towards the practicality of the MBA. That’s how you benefit from the MBA and the compensation should come along with it.
A lot of younger talent with Bachelor + MBA in their Resume are saying “Well, the school had a great promotion! Instead of two years of an MBA I only have to take one year, save money, so it made financial sense!… So I just decided to do it!” That’s a terrible reason to get your MBA. And most of the time firms will prefer work experience over an MBA. I have actually seen how getting an MBA right after Bachelor degree has hurt candidates when firms start questioning them. Firms might think that having an MBA when you’re 22 makes you hungry for a better position than they can offer. So these firms become wary to hire you, let alone interview you! If you are applying for an entry level or junior position – an MBA can actually hurt your chances of getting the job, especially if you have no previous job experience!
My ultimate recommendation on an MBA is to really think it through. Most of the time in the business world you don’t really need it! Also, if you’ve decided to make it happen, choose a good school! I don’t believe in today’s marketplace getting an MBA from an online school is a smart allocation of your time and money. If you’re young and you’re listening to this – get an MBA after at least 4 years of work! Usually, it’s good “bogie” is to obtain your MBA within 10 years of your Bachelor completion (ie: you graduate 2010, then get your MBA by 2020).
A good tip to remember is that if the market is not doing well (like we had from 2008 – 2012) then going back to school to get your Master’s, PhD or even completing your Bachelor’s is a very wise use of your time. If there are no jobs out there, then may as well as get your education aligned, as the market always turns around. And when it starts to do better, you will have shown that instead of being at home and wasting your time, you chose instead to advance your education. Well then -an MBA during this downturn is strongly advised!
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Have an awesome week and I’ll see you right here next Monday morning!