We’re big fans of education — obviously, else we wouldn’t be coaching people how to get more of it. But there’s no doubt that an MBA is an expensive degree, perhaps one of the costliest. There’s less “free money” available at most bschools than in other graduate programs (and student loans are remarkably easy to get for most people) because the MBA is considered a safe investment. But is it worth it? What’s the ROI on an MBA?
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, most college graduates expect to increase their income (note that the study only tracks people’s stated beliefs — it did not actually study whether people DO increase their income as a result of their education, though we know that other studies have shown this to be true).
Here’s a very interesting nugget from that Pew study:
While Americans value college, they value character even more. Asked what it takes for a young person to succeed in the world, 61% say a good work ethic is extremely important and 57% say the same about knowing how to get along with people. Just 42% say the same about a college education
It could be argued, could it not, that the college experience teaches the good work ethic? And it teaches (hopefully) how to get along with people? So there must be some overlap in these characteristics; the way this data is presented is a little off we think.
We agree that education at the best schools is very expensive, probably too expensive. The system perpetuates an elitist world. Those with access are the ones (generally) who make it into the best schools. Graduating from the best school ensures they’ll continue to have access. It perpetuates a class system that is not healthy for the long term of this country, we believe.
Oops. We started getting on a soapbox there.
This topic of “is it worth it?” seems to be bandied about a lot these days. Georgetown released a study of what specific undergrad majors will earn (are worth) over time (interesting, and also pretty intuitive… they really had to do a study on that?? and also — WHAT’S WITH THE VERY DISTURBING GRAPHIC ON THE FRONT COVER OF THAT PDF THING??? eek). The NYTimes offers some interesting points on this one too (without a disturbing graphic).
We’ll be circling back to the main question of whether an MBA — and about $100k+ of debt — is indeed worth it for you. You need to look at these questions before you actually waste all this time and energy (and money) in applying.