Pros and Cons of an MBA From a Graduating Student

83 days to graduation.

This semester has been a bit of a contradiction so far. Senioritis has kicked in and I can’t wait for the term to be over and get to May 15th when the class of 2011 has its commencement! At the same time, weeks have just flown by despite my lighter load compared to prior semesters. I have 4 credits remaining, that’s two half-semester classes (with the final presentation for one of them coming up next week). I think the pace will relax in March with only one remaining class. Murphy’s Law dictates that my day job will start taking more cycles to compensate though :-)

As a soon-to-be-graduating student, I often get asked questions about my time at Haas with the most common among them being “was it worth it”? This here is my brief take at tackling this. Get in touch with me for a more verbose version that will likely need a trip to the local watering hole. And for the record, these comments are mine only and not intended as a voice of a majority or a minority -

Was it worth it, in terms of “time”:
...away from family - NO. In my book not many things qualify for this though.
...away from fun - are you kiddin'? I now know of a lot more ways of having fun.
...away from those special projects - O-yeah, got involved in more “projects” than I would have done otherwise, courtesy all the new found avenues.
...away from what else I could have done - This is what I wanted to do.

Was it worth it, in terms of “money”:
...fees are slightly more than what a normal person spends on “hobbies” :-) . And I could probably show you lots of spreadsheets I worked out to quantify this but honestly this is not a black and white situation. I think of it as an investment for my future, the way I'd like to have it. Plans change though.
...some of my classmates have reaped immediate rewards while others, notably those starting their own entrepreneurial ventures, are set to do so in due time.

Was it worth in terms of the “learning”:
...ABSOLUTELY. Business school has exposed me to a lot that would have remained non-existent to me. It has given me the tools (and am not talking about academic stuff although that was darn interesting) that help me recognize value which was earlier not so apparent (and vice-versa). And relationships that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

This particular aspect actually needs more verbosity. There are a lot of people who see the MBA as secondary to real world experience. They are correct. And I admire them because they are self-aware. But most importantly, they are talking about themselves. "Learning" at school is a choice like any other in life. One can go through the motions and come out on the other side with only a degree. Hey, for some of us, that is all we are looking to get out of it.

So, would I recommend that you go for an MBA?
...The question doesn’t make sense. What you should ask instead is whether an MBA is the right thing for you at this stage (or ever) in your career.

If I got a chance for a do-over, will I do something differently while being in the program?
...Heck ya. That’s what MBA education has "reinforced". If you get do-overs, always, always try ways to improve the experience!

Until next time.

About The Author