Monday, April 06, 2009

The Gift of Knowledge - What's your degree doing for you?

Is it worth it?? The perennial MBA question is all the more popular in tough economic times like today. And despite all my quibbles (and I'm not done quibbling!), I say: Yes. But I'm not sure that all of my classmates would be in agreement with me. I think there are more than a few who feel more regret than I do at the moment.

And this is where it pays to double check your motivation for getting an MBA before leaping in. Although I laid out a specific trajectory in my applications, I didn't go back to school with my heart set on one industry or one employer. I'm an opportunist - I go where the money is and where the boredom is least. There's a lot of things I could do for a career and be happy.

I went back to school to get an education that would leave me a more capable business woman than when I entered. Achieving that goal is independent of the level of the Dow Jones. If you hoped to drink and golf away two years and emerge with a bigger, fatter salary or transform a career gone astray through the magic of "MBA" on your resume alone, the MBA may not be worth it these days. If you want to make the most of classes or case competitions and new friendships and everything else a great program has to offer, you'll still get those benefits even if jobs are harder to come by. In fact, I don't see how I would be any better off without the degree. I would probably be even more economically frustrated.

I majored in Economics in college because I thought it was the most interesting subject available. I took the CFA exams because it was a way for me to learn finance and accounting and try to make sense of the baffling financial markets. I'm not an economist. And it looks like I'm not going to even work in a capacity in which ", CFA" means anything. Was it worth it? Absolutely. To understand something about monetary policy and Keynesian theories and fundamental analysis (etc) is a powerful gift. (As well as avoiding future Madoffs.) And from the MBA, to have finally settled for myself why I think active management is a waste of time and money and PE/VC is not for me and to have some clue about what "lean manufacturing" means practically, among many other lessons, is worth a lot.

It's painfully cliched, but the MBA is really what you make of it. Choose your program wisely and remember, even in better times, it's no magic bullet.

3 comments:

The.Grey.One said...

MaybeMBA

I agree with all of what you said. A person, at present times, would be disappointed if they thought of the 2 years of MBA degree as kind of resume polishing or placement center for eg, if they are currently making 100K+ and wanted to make 200K+ after MBA, then there is a high chance of disappointment. In my case, to be frank, at present i'm not making a 6 figure salary. I'm sure with the skills i learn in 2 years of my MBA, i would be definitely able to cross that barrier after my MBA. Also, even if i don't, due to prolonged economic recession, that won't automatically mean my MBA is useless and i would come to regret it. There are plenty of interesting fields for which an MBA is a entry requirement, and i would get a chance to try those. Sure i might struggle a bit to pay off my loans, but eventually we all would manage to get by....and there is a lot more to life than just plain ol' money.

Just an idea, Why not try something related to "economics", as that seem to be your passion (similar to mine). Why not "economic consulting or forecasting" firm? I'm sure a "Chicago GSB" brand, would provide a much easier entry to that field.

Will be eagerly looking forward to this blog in coming days (and years)..and wishing you great success both in career & life

Lucky said...

Well, the same question was asked to me from my laon officer.....Is your CEIBS ( I am joinnig CIEBS this Aug) MBA worth it ?????????

Well i have two word answer for him

"THINK BROADLY"

Regards,
luckylehana.blogspot.com

Lucky said...

Well, the same question was asked to me from my laon officer.....Is your CEIBS ( I am joinnig CIEBS this Aug) MBA worth it ?????????

Well i have two word answer for him

"THINK BROADLY"

Regards,
luckylehana.blogspot.com