Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So. Is it worth it?

Unfortunately for the empirically minded there is no satisfactory answer to this. There is no parallel me running around without an MBA to make a comparison against.

As the twelve months of gloom lifted and finals came and went and I enjoyed graduation, I was increasingly inclined to say that it was unequivocally worthwhile. However, I was also past the point of return. There was no point in regretting anything.

The friends I've made at Booth are phenomenal. I feel glad I have Chicago Booth at the top of my resume during this terrible job hunt. It's relieving to have alumni to reach out to and career services to hold my hand when needed. I did have some fantastic professors. And I even learned something in my worst classes. And most of the learning in MBA land really happens outside of the classroom I now believe.

However, the worth of something cannot be judged properly without considering the price paid. And this will vary dramatically across applicants - both the tangible price such as tuition and the intangibles such as living away from family. As you listen to graduates hold forth on the value of their MBA, keep this in mind. We all pay different prices and obtain different rewards.Having now finished, I see how naive it was to assume that someone else's MBA story would be my own. (And the irony is that anyone who is going to get into a top MBA program is probably going to do pretty well on their own. )

But in all honesty, I think it would be quite short sighted of me to say that I regretted it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is relieving to finally see an (almost) objective reflection on the MBA experience. I am yet to come across a single person who has openly said they regretted 'the decision', and in my opinion, the odds of EVERYONE genuinely having a postitive (and more importantly, worthwhile) experience are close to zilch!
I have always wondered why is it that every students/alumni defends the MBA experience as they would their to the point it is almost unreal.
Perhaps it is their loyalty towards the school and their peers, or their self-imposed need to defend the experience, so that 'others' continue to attach significant value to the experience (and therefore, what these students walk out with on their CVs), or perhaps, it is the need to justify 'the decision' which has left them with a little over a 100Gs that they now have to return to the creditors.

I am not saying that everyone regrets it - i'm almost certain that majority of the students find it a really enriching experience (at the least from a personal development perspective if not from a career development one), but I'm inclined to question the fact that EACH and EVERY student finds in fruitful.

Trust me - I am more or less sold to the idea of b-school myself - but i know for a fact that it will not do much for me from a career perspective - unless I am looking to switch fields or need an 'insurance' against bad times (though the latter argument seems to have fallen through in the past few months). The way I see it - it is a 2-year experience which will teach me a lot about myself, if not anything else. The question, however, is whether I am prepared to shell out a 160Gs (and more) for it...

Looking forward to more details on your reflection... certainly helpful to see more objective takes on purportedly 'the best 2years' of most b-school students' lives...