The MBA degree continues to be one of the most sought after professional degrees in the world. But should everyone get a MBA? A MBA degree can set you back over $200k; it’s not an investment to be made lightly. Here are the most common scenarios where going back to school for a MBA makes the most sense & can pay off nicely.

  1. Switching away from a non-business career path \ ie. film producer → tech product manager
    • As long as you’re looking to enter a field that will be tied to at least 4 possible business classes, otherwise, perhaps you should consider a more specific master’s degree
  2. Pursing an entrepreneurial path \ ie. management consultant → start up co-founder
    • Business school gives ample opportunities to network and find co-founders
    • They also typically have incubators for good business ideas & mini-venture funds
    • You can work with professors as board advisors
    • You can access a ready campus/college town as your test city to begin in
  3. Seeking an upper management role in business \ ie. senior marketing manager → director of marketing
    • This only makes sense at companies/fields where it’s hard to climb the corporate ladder without an advanced degree. For example, Facebook doesn’t typically care whether or not people have MBA degrees; it literally plays no role in your promotion worthiness.
    • Stagger this in a way that going through 2 years of business school would be faster than the estimated time to get to the next level. If your job promotes senior managers every 2 years, it’s possible an MBA might not be worth the loss of income for 2 years.
  4. Trying to gain access into an otherwise exclusive field, career path or choice MBA internships \ ie. product management, venture capital
    • MBA internships are pretty unique and tend to be available from some of the best companies in the world. You can also leverage the network in your class/cohort to gain access to knowledge of how to break into exclusive fields.
  5. You’d like to work internationally or live somewhere specific \ ie. Singapore (INSEAD), London (LSE), California (Stanford) etc

What to expect from business school – what people don’t tell you

Bad reasons for pursuing a MBA degree

  1. Because you didn’t get a job offer that you wanted in the same field
  2. Because your friends are doing it
  3. Because you think you’ll be making more money; you might, but be sure to weigh that against the cost of taking on debt & living expenses while you’re in school
  4. Because you want a break from working; why not take an online course for free or travel the world?
  5. Because you want a certain “status”
  6. To find a husband or wife