I’ve read a few articles recently about education and whether or not you should even pursue a degree. It’s true today that you don’t need a degree to be successful, especially with the face of business changing. College certainly isn’t for everyone, but I think that an undergraduate degree is worth the investment – if you’re smart about where you go to school and what you study. (Please, please don’t rack up $50k+ in loans – that’s no fun)
For me, I finished an undergraduate business management degree and then completed my MBA while working. My wife and I don’t have any children and we were both able to work while I went to school. I did take out loans to pay for the school (totaling $20,000) but I want to review with you why I think the MBA was worth it for me.
(The “personal value” assigned to each of the benefits of an MBA are essentially what I’d pay for each opportunity – what you’d pay is probably different)
1. Future in Education
I would love to teach at a university one day and having an MBA is a prerequisite to teaching. I love to learn, so working on a Ph.D. may be something to consider…but that’s another article.
Personal Value: $10,000
2. Love for Learning
Learning about business in even more detail was great. Sure, I could have found a lot of information by myself online. Sure, I could have simply purchased the textbooks and read them. The difference came in the interaction with the professors and students. Each student brought different experiences to the table and I was able to benefit from their successes and mistakes.
3. Accelerated Courses
I attended Drury University and completed the MBA in 11 months. Their program allowed me to me to continue working full time and attend the classes in the evenings. Having the option to complete the 2 year program in a year was a huge reason why I chose to get my MBA.
Personal Value: $5,000
4. Connections and Networks
I met so many great people while working on my MBA and even joined with a classmate to start a marketing firm that he’s now doing full time. Sure, I could have networked in town, but meeting with 30 smart/driven people each night isn’t something you find everyday.
Personal Value: (Tried to put a figure on it, but can’t put a price on it)
5. Trip to China
The MBA program included a trip to China as the capstone class. The trip was included in the 20k tuition, so I didn’t have to come up with any extra to go. China wasn’t the first place my wife and I would have saved up to visit, but since it was part of the MBA, I was all for it!
Personal Value: $3,000
Well, I managed to justify the cost of the $20,000 MBA with the warm fuzzy figures above, but that’s just personal. Interestingly, I was able to advance at my employer twice in the last two years and the cost of the MBA can be financially justified relatively quickly. The promotions were not directly related to my MBA, so I cannot say it was an immediate payoff in and of itself. What I do know is that the personal value of an MBA was worth the cost for me AND we were financially able to afford the advanced degree.
What about you? Is an advanced degree worth it to you?