Want to get an MBA? Buyers, beware.

While an MBA can open significant professional doors, B-school hopefuls ought to look long and hard before they leap, says Graduate Management Admission Council's David Wilson

In 2010, prospective business school students sat for the three and a half hour GMAT exam 263,979 times, suggesting that there is a healthy appetite for management education despite the rising costs of attending a traditional MBA program. David Wilson, president and CEO of the Graduate Management Admission Council (the organization that manages the GMAT test) is one of management education's staunchest allies, but he cautions MBA hopefuls that the degree is a sobering investment that needs to be analyzed as rigorously as a business investment or surveyed as closely as a home you're about to purchase. Buyers beware, he warns. Here is an edited transcript of our recent interview with Wilson.

When is it too expensive to pursue an MBA?

The MBA is, if not the only degree, then one of the very few degrees, undertaken after an economic analysis. If you get a PhD in art history, it's because you have a passion for art history, not because you want a dramatic financial return. I'd argue that the vast majority of MBAs want the degree so they get the economic return...

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