I get asked often for career advice and one of the all-time top questions is whether or not to get an MBA. My standard response is if you don’t get accepted into a top program, don’t waste your time. I stand by that statement.
But today I came across an interesting column on the 85 Broads website. 85 Broads is an empowering network started by an ambitious group of women who worked for Goldman Sachs at 85 Broad Street. When I graduated from business school, 85 Broads was fairly small but it’s exploded into a major hub of speaker series, blogs, and worldwide regional chapters. I had little faith about their success and they proved me wrong. Bravo to the core leaders.
Here is the column I found interesting. It’s written by Geanine Thompson.
There’s been a lot of MBA-bashing lately and I’d like to join the conversation to provide another point of view. If you’re looking to someone else to determine whether an MBA is a worthwhile investment, then you probably shouldn’t pursue this path. People who want an MBA can feel it in their bones and there isn’t anything anyone can say or do to stop them. Their mantra is, “MBA or die!” I know because I’ve been there. I was a former long-shot liberal arts major whose destiny called from a b-school application.
My b-school experience was transformative and remains one of the highlights of my life yet I don’t advise everyone to take the MBA journey. There aren’t any one size fits all answers as each situation is unique. What matters is what you expect to garner from the experience. Start from the beginning and ask, “Why do I want an MBA?”
Some things to consider:
*Apply and attend with a plan. Two years will fly by quickly. You won’t have the luxury of finding yourself in b-school because you’ll be too busy juggling coursework, extracurricular activities and recruiting events. Besides, MBA programs are not structured to support this task. If you arrive lost, you will remain lost.
*Start a business with or without an MBA. Getting an MBA does not make you an instant entrepreneur. If you want to create or run a business you can do so right now. No MBA required. (Sorry, but it’s true.)
*Dream your crazy dream. What’s your secret dream, the awesome idea you’re always thinking about? Is an MBA required to get you there?
I don’t advocate using the MBA as an escape from your life. If you’re bored at work, unemployed or can’t think of anything better to do, an MBA is not for you. However, if you pursue an MBA program with a concrete understanding of what you will gain as well as how you can contribute, it will be worth the investment.