Thursday, December 18, 2008

Worth of an MBA

With the recession likely to be aggravated by the policies of the Obama administration, many people are naturally concerned about not only their jobs, but their long-term prospects as well. Some have asked me, since I am finishing up my work to earn my MBA, what the reason was for earning that degree, and whether I would recommend it for someone trying to move up in a company or improve their income and job security. The answer, like so many times, is ‘that depends …’

MBA, of course, stands for Master of Business Administration, a title which may seem vague to some but which can represent a great deal. The reason that the degree may or may not worth what it takes to earn it, is that you have to do more to use it properly than just have it on your resume. The MBA is an advanced degree, and in most conditions it is expected to be an indicator of advanced position and a complement to advanced experience. If you are just starting out in the world of employment, or if your resume does not already reflect management experience, then the degree will be less valuable as a lever to gain a desirable position. That’s not to say that an MBA does not help you in finding a management position, but in general it is most appreciated when accompanied by evidence that you have done this before.

Inexperienced candidates compensate for that problem in two ways; acceptance to a premier school, or internship at a prominent firm. The problem there, however, is that you are still starting at a relatively low level in the company. Of course, the flip side is also true, that if you go to a less-prominent school but have experience you will be considered for a higher position, but with weaker long-term prospects initially. Or not, depending on the company and how well you do your job. The MBA, then, is a tool, but like all tools you must choose according to what you need to get done what you want.

to be continued

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