Why Not Get an MBA

The MBA is not for everybody. Make sure you learn about the negative aspects.

10 Career decisions which make more sense than an MBA...

Five years ago, the society evaluated your “market value” solely based on your grades, college, and the number of degrees you owned. Thankfully, through the influence of digital age, these stereotypes are slowly finding their exit route. Today, your grades don’t matter as much as they used to and if you’re talented, you can find yourself an amazing job even with basic qualifications. Those looking to take their careers to the next level, often find themselves considering the pros and cons of taking up an MBA. For most of us, an MBA programme would either be to increase our business acumen or simply because we need that feather in our cap to show the world. Let’s run some quick numbers The cost of your MBA programme abroad would range anywhere between Rs 40 and 70 lakh, whereas an Indian MBA will cost somewhere between Rs 7.5 and 25 lakh. In India, if you happen to do an internship or a job that roughly pays around 25,000 per month, and your MBA fees happen to be Rs 15 lakh; you’ll still take five years to recover the money spent on your education. Not to mention the living expenses, and other miscellaneous costs. Add two more years, may be? In other words, MBA seems like a dicey choice. Of course, you will earn more in the future and definitely learn a lot but what are the stakes? With these points in mind, here are a few career choices that cost less than an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career: Start your own business. There’s no better feeling in this world than being your own boss. Starting your own business would not only boast your moral, but will...

6 career moves that are worth more than an MBA...

If your career plan is to become a hedge fund trader or play some other role in the financial services business, you probably need an MBA just as the price of admission. If that’s you, don’t bother reading this post. For everyone else, you may be considering an MBA program as a way to increase your business acumen, enhance your personal brand, and make yourself more competitive. If that’s the case, there may be some cheaper and better alternatives. Let’s run some quick numbers. Tuition and fees for a two year degree program at a top private college will cost you about $120,000. If you earn $50,000 a year, you won’t be making $100,000 during that time. If your living expenses are $45,000 a year, you’ll still need to pay that $90,000. In other words, an MBA from a top business school could cost you as much as $320,000. Invest that amount at an annual return of 5%. and you’ll have roughly $2.3 million when you retire in 40 years. With an MBA, of course, you will earn more in the future. According to New Accountant, an MBA will earn a CFO an estimated $463,440 in extra lifetime income. But that’s only an extra $11,586 a year, which compounds over 40 years to only $1.6 million. Of course, if you get your MBA from a lower tier school, tuition and fees will be less, and you may get your current employer to pay some of your costs. Still, even if you earn the degree in your spare time, there’s still lost opportunity cost. With that in mind, here are six career moves that cost lest than earning an MBA but will probably do more to advance your career and...

Here’s Why You Don’t Need an MBA to Get Ahead in Business...

There are other paths to the corner office. The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: Career wise, is it better to be book smart or street smart? is written by Suri Suriyakumar, chairman, president and CEO of ARC Document Solutions. While I would never discount the value of a formal, advanced education, my personal experience shows that life experience, combined with hard work, a desire to succeed, and a willingness to take risks, can lead to the corner office. I deviated from the norm from the beginning. In what was probably one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken: I decided to pursue a non-traditional — and rather circuitous — path to a career in business. My father was the first person from his village in Sri Lanka to get a college degree, and all of my siblings followed his lead, pursuing college degrees as well. But I bypassed the college and business school route in favor of the school of hard knocks. I attended a marine academy so that I could repair ships and sail the world. I quickly became street smart—or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I became “sea smart”. I found that I liked to lead but not necessarily from a ship’s boiler room. So I left the sailor’s life behind and joined an executive training program at an international conglomerate. I had the benefit of working with a wonderful mentor who helped me grow, drive new projects, and make my way rather quickly to a directorship…Read full story:...

Ten Reasons You Don’t Need An MBA

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The Five Worst Reasons To Get An MBA

I could use your advice. I am 27. I got a BA in Marketing because my parents pushed me hard in the direction of business and I didn’t really know what to major in. I didn’t love my program but my college isn’t known for its undergraduate business courses. However, they have an excellent MBA program. I got my degree five years ago and I’ve had one decent job and two pretty awful ones since then. My first job came from a referral from my Stats professor who also consults with a biotech firm. They hired me in as a Business Analyst and I loved that job, but they moved the position to their headquarters in New York. I could have taken a job in Client Support at the same firm but I didn’t see any reason to take a step back. My manager got me an interview at a temp firm that our company worked with. I took the job at the temp firm and it was horrible. I lasted seven and a half months at that job. One of my clients at the temp firm hired me into the job I have now, which is better than the temp firm but not that great. In my current job I manage a client database which is just as boring as it sounds. My manager is okay but the office atmosphere is oppressive. No one likes it here and it’s hard to get through the day. I’m thinking about going back to my alma mater for an MBA which would qualify me for higher-level jobs. I got good grades in high school and my undergrad program and I’ve been active with my alumni association so I’m pretty sure they...

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg says you don’t need an MBA to be successful in tech...

There’s a longstanding Silicon Valley stereotype that MBAs are risk-averse, entitled, and brainwashed into being boring, and are therefore not suited for the fast-paced technology world. The idea of foregoing a formal education to pursue an entrepreneurial venture is furthered by tech leaders like billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who has a $100,000 fellowship for students who drop out of college to start a business. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have dropped out of Harvard as an undergraduate, but his COO Sheryl Sandberg followed a more traditional path. She not only graduated from college but also received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She worked for a year as a McKinsey consultant and then spent time in the US Treasury before joining Google in 2001. Zuckerberg recruited her in 2008 to help him take his company to the next level. In a recent Quora post, Sandberg weighed in on the MBA debate, saying that her b-school experience gave her a solid business foundation but that she and the rest of Facebook’s leadership think “degrees are always secondary to skills.” “While I got great value from my experience, MBAs are not necessary at Facebook, and I don’t believe they are important for working in the tech industry,” she writes.Read full story: Business...

Is getting an MBA the right move for you?

Whether you definitely want to pursue an MBA at some point in your career or are trying to decide if enrolling in an MBA program is the right path for you, it’s important to know the ideal times in your career to join an MBA program. Jumping in too early can place you in the awkward position of being overqualified educationally while simultaneously being underqualified professionally. Waiting too long can stall your career momentum and lower your career earnings and potential. Here’s how to determine whether the time is right. YOU HAVE CLEAR GOALS Dreaming of something bigger in your career but not sure what? Want to gain more systematic knowledge but not sure where you want to focus? Unless and until you can answer these questions, an MBA program probably isn’t for you. In your application essays and interview, the admissions officers will want you to demonstrate clear goals. RELATED: How to craft the perfect LinkedIn profile in 30 minutes At the same time, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being unsure. However, this isn’t the time for an MBA. It’s time to explore. If this is your situation, you might want to ask your employer if you can do a rotation in another department. Educationally, you can pursue a certificate program, which can enhance your resume and expose you to the MBA environment with a lower investment of time and money. YOU HAVE REACHED A PLATEAU IN YOUR CAREER If you can see the writing on the wall that you’re not going to be able to move up in your career unless you improve your education credentials, this is an excellent time to begin researching MBA programs. Reach out to your supervisor and ask what the company would...

MBAs Are Part Of The Problem, Not The Solution...

In my early days as a financial journalist, I worked for the Anglo-French publisher Sir James Goldsmith. Although I can’t say I knew him well, he was a presence around the building, and he went on to provide a fulsome commendation for a book I published in 1995. One of his memorable characteristics was his scorn for MBAs, whom he viewed as at best overeducated windbags. Hardly an ivory tower theoretician, he had never been to university but nonetheless ranked as one of Europe’s wealthiest self-made tycoons. He had thus earned his right to an opinion. Nothing I have learned in the interim (in a career spent mainly in the United States and Japan) has undermined my confidence in his skepticism. Quite the contrary. Perhaps the most telling evidence against the value of a business school education is in the various attempts to rank business schools around the world. There seems to be an inverse law at work: those nations with the most lackluster economies seem to score highest in the business school rankings. Meanwhile nations with outstandingly successful economies are nowhere in the rankings. Take the latest Financial Times list. No fewer than fifty schools in the top 100 are in the United States alone. Meanwhile the United Kingdom boasts thirteen, Canada five, Australia three, and Ireland one. Thus the total for the Anglophone bloc is 72. Not bad for nations boasting less than 7 percent of the world’s population…Read full story:...

Google executives explain why the MBA approach to building things is ‘stupid’...

Google’s hiring chief says he doesn’t give much credit to college degrees in the hiring process. So it should come as no surprise that other Google executives also regard staples of traditional business school training at the nation’s elite colleges as downright “stupid.” Former senior vice president Jonathan Rosenberg explained how cofounder Larry Page first schooled him in the Google approach to business product: Design things for unexpected results. Rosenberg had been hired early on in Google’s history to help transform the company from a scrappy startup to a mature multinational. He thought this meant his MBA mattered. “The way you do project management is the MBA comes in and writes the plan,” he told an audience at Silicon Valley’s Commonwealth Club in Santa Clara, California, in an interview with Khan Academy founder Salman Khan last fall (the video was released this winter). The MBA, he was taught, was the almighty director, who set the direction for project management like Moses coming down from the mountaintop. Among his favorite tool was a common visual timeline technique, Gantt charts, commonly taught at the Harvard Business Schools of the world…Read full story:...

Was an MBA Worth Your Time and Money in 2014? What Critics Said...

Some revere it as an opportunity for personal transformation and professional advancement. Others dismiss it as a cash-burning summer camp for adults. The MBA is a divisive degree—depending on who you talk to, it will secure you a six-figure hedge fund gig, or send top venture capitalists running. Throughout the year, we asked chief executives, basketball pros, spiritual gurus, and financiers what they thought about business school and the people it produces. The best critics’ takes: Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan: “I wonder sometimes if business school is the corporatization of education.” Deepak Chopra, alternative medicine advocate: “We have immense problems right now—social injustice, economic injustice, climate change, war, terrorism, new epidemics of all kinds … and business is in a position to help.” Linda Heasley, CEO of Lane Bryant, UCLA Anderson MBA ’86: “It’s an amazing networking opportunity.” Antoine Walker, retired NBA star: “Having some [business] training on my own would definitely make me make better decisions, but also make me make wiser decisions.” T. Boone Pickens, CEO and founder of BP Capital Management: “If I were Drake, I wouldn’t waste my time on it.”Read full story:...

Top Ten B-School Scandals & Controversies Of 2014...

No question, this past year was a doozy for misbehavior in the business school world. Two of the lead figures in the Top 10 B-School Scandals and Controversies of 2014 defrauded millions from investors. One business school was reported to have resorted to deception through exaggeration in order to boost enrollment and donations. An elite MBA program’s students were called out as booze-swilling, sex-crazy spendthrifts prone to mocking a poor sod who just wanted to do his damn schoolwork. Then there were the Jesuit schools, popping up in surprising places in a major set of rankings, raising the specter of conspiracy. Not to mention the epic Great Sichuan Chicken War, pitting an irate Harvard Business School professor against a family-owned Chinese restaurant. Taken together, these Top 10 stories show business school as a microcosm of the world, in all its pettiness and grandeur – and no shortage of the quirky, the kooky, the crooked, and the criminal. 1. An HBS Prof’s $4 Spat Over Spicy Chicken Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman was mocked and disparaged world-wide after his dispute with a Boston-area Chinese restaurant over a $4 take-out overcharge went public, and viral. Though many saw Edelman’s prickly correspondence with a restaurant representative – and escalating demands for compensation – as petty and bullying, Poets&Quantstook the position that the professor, a dedicated and capable consumer-protection activist, was correct in his actions, though unnecessarily aggressive in his approach. Multiplying a small overcharge by the number of take-out orders per week could amount to thousands of dollars. And false advertised prices would give the restaurant an unfair competitive advantage over competitors. Edelman apologized, but he shouldn’t have – Sichuan Garden had it coming. 2. A Harvard MBA Assails the Party...

The MBA is losing its magic

What is the staying power of an MBA education? Why year after year do students sign up for the countless MBA programmes across the world? Are they after new skills? Maybe. Eager to learn about the latest academic research output? Unlikely. Keen to go through a learning experience? Possibly. In search of a networking opportunity? Most certainly. But perhaps a principle motive is to boost their career prospects. The notion that the harder you work, the higher you will climb the corporate — and therefore social — ladder is rooted in our DNA. Very often, this also translates into the higher you are in the corporate echelons, the more successful you are. For many, an MBA degree promises to deliver this; for anyone wishing to progress in their career, just get an MBA and its magic will do the rest. Except that this magic stopped working quite a long time ago. On the one hand the financial crisis of 2008 caused many businesses to cut hiring, leading to a shortage of those jobs that MBA graduates covet. For others there has been a dawning realisation that cost-cutting employers are unlikely to offer financial sponsorship for those wishing to study for an MBA. As a result students have resorted to taking out large loans to finance their business education…Read full story: Financial...