Careers 101: is an MBA a waste of time?

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DatePosted on December 14, 2016 at 04:10 AM
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Look, I'll be straight with you, there's really only a few big reasons to go for an MBA, despite what lots of books/blogs will tell you.

1) You went to a not-prestigious undergrad, and need it for pedigree/entrance into job sectors like consulting/banking/etc. A few awesome people get these jobs even though they didn't go to a fancy undergrad, they are baller, and many still go to school anyway just to lock it in.

2) You have been working for a while and just want to take a break and go to school, travel, drink/party, meet new friends from all over the world who are motivated and interesting.

3) You need school to help you make a drastic pivot into something you are interested in (note you could have a degree from a fancy school, but your transition to the business world will be hard if you are coming from something really far off like being an artist or in the military, doctor, scientist, etc)

At the top 5ish schools, a lot of the people that are there are there for number 2) or 3), with a minority being there for 1). Most people that are smart and work hard and willing to move to a big city can be making post MBA salaries in years 0-5 out of undergrad, so school never makes sense for a short term financial ROI.

On the flipside, most people you ask who have been out of their MBA programs for 15+ years say the ROI is incredibly high, largely due to the people and network you can become a part of, and how so many of your classmates/friends from those years will go on to do all kinds of cool/random/powerful things.

Good luck. I went for (2), and spent most of my life savings doing it, definitely not a slam dunk now, but maybe in 15+ years it will be. If you tally up new close friends that I added to my support network in my late 20's/early 30's (not easy) during my time at school, I've already got ROI 1000X more than any financial ROI. 

The above post comes courtesy of an answer from Michael Chen on to the question, "I always wanted to pursue an MBA but (after 4 years of work experience) now feel that an MBA is a waste of time, what do I do?"