It is not a simple answer. It depends on where you are in your career and what you hope to achieve with a business school degree. Business school is a huge investment of time and money and your reason for going should be more than just all my friends are applying or have a MBA (although I know plenty of people who went for that exact reason).

Vanity aside, here are some good reasons for going

  • Advancement of your career. Most business consulting firms will not promote you to manager unless you have a MBA. Companies may favor employees for promotion when you have a MBA. Consider this however that the majority of CEOs or CXOs of fortune 500 companies only have a college degree, so the path to the executive suite does not necessarily need to go through a business school.
  • Change in career. Business school is a great transition point for making a change in your career. For example, an engineer who wants to become a business manager at a tech company or a consultant who wants to become a brand marketing manager at a consumer good company
  • Alumni network/Credibility. You should only consider going if you plan to apply to some of the top 20 business schools in the nation. They would have the best brand and alumni network – people who can open doors for you for future job search efforts or with whom you can do business more easily after graduation. Going anywhere outside the top 20 is a waste of time and money! Sorry, it’s harsh but true.
  • Someone else is paying for it. Tuition runs around $100K for two years. If someone is willing to sponsor you, then it increases your chance of acceptance as well as you have guaranteed employment and possible advancement after graduation. Just make sure you like the career you are in with this company because you will be required to do “servitude” in return for sponsorship. Most firms require 2 or 3 years and after that you may feel very tempted to continue in that path even if you dislike it because you have so much time invested already

Here are some bad reasons, if these are the only reasons you want to go.

  • “Job market sucks – maybe I should apply for school” – remember it will cost about $200K for two years include tuition and living expenses + opportunity cost of not making any money ($100-200K) except for the summer.
  • “All my friends are going” – I know a friend who went to a good business school, incurred $140K in debt and now is an interior designer. She has a rich husband to pay her debt. You may not be so lucky. Make sure you want a career in business before going.
  • “I want to go to Bschool so I can be a MRS” Hey if you can do it, all the power to you to find Mr. Right in business school.
  • You believe in the marketing slogans of some no name online MBA program that said “With their MBA, you can change the world.”  Not all MBA are created equal.  an MBA with no real reputation or robust alumni network will be a waste of your time and money.

At the end of the day, deciding to apply is a very personal decision. Just make sure you know what you hope to accomplish with a MBA and what you are sacrificing for it.

Good luck deciding
– Lei

5 Thoughts on “Should I go to Business School?

  1. Pingback: Do You Need an MBA to Succeed?

  2. Rashesh Karia on July 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm said:

    hey Lei, I like your blog. its an eye opener.

  3. Lei Han on August 26, 2011 at 10:58 am said:

    Vic,

    Thanks for your comment. That is why this reason you listed from the post under NOT good reasons to want to go to business school.

  4. Vic Napier on August 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm said:

    You said:
    “I want to go to Bschool so I can be a MRS” Hey if you can do it, all the power to you to find Mr. Right in business school.

    Sorry, but as a guy who came of age during the Womans Movement I found this sexist and demeaning to both genders. Women generally have a lot more to offer the world than having babies for a wealthy guy, but it’s a tempting path. I respectfully suggest you consder urging women to be the best they can — more often an MBA than an MRS.

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