MBA: Good or Bad? For You? Not for You?
October 11, 2016 - Gene Raltz
Zillman of Fortune Magazine (2015) presented a picture that an MBA is worth $45,000 more per year than a Bachelor Degree. Karen Schweitzer (About Education, 2014) wrote that you pursue an MBA to advance your career or even to change your career. Stacy Blackman (2016) writes that an MBA may be helpful and be required for some executives in some companies.
If that’s the case, why aren’t more people pursuing an MBA degree? There are a number of reasons, one of which is the cost of a typical program. Jeffrey Pfeffer (2002) wrote that the ROI of an MBA is not good, especially with the rising cost of an MBA education. Christina Ting Fong (2002) wrote that a typical MBA offers no relevance to career needs, since most MBA programs offer minimal differences. Anna Ivey wrote that one will not earn more money with an MBA (Bloomberg, 2015). Who’s right? Why did I include dated commentary?
These are just a few of the comments by educators and others. However, let’s address each of the points. How does one calculate ROI? How much more money are you making after completing your MBA? How quickly can you pay off your student loan? Then calculate how much more you will earn over your lifetime. The final calculation is a guess at best. The bottom line is that some MBAs cost over $100,000. How long will it take to pay this much back? If you earn your MBA at a lower cost, your payback is much faster.
What kind of job preparation does an MBA provide? Will you learn how to run a company? Will you learn how to solve problems? Will you learn how to lead people? If you cannot lead now, you probably will not be able to do so with an MBA either. Why are students not better prepared? Probably because most of the programs are quite similar, using theory and case studies by which to teach. When you get to a job you’ll need to learn what’s expected to do the job well. Why should someone pay you big bucks to learn how to do a job? Why won’t MBA programs provide a platform for real experiential learning? The market is telling MBA schools what the market wants and needs.
Why will you not earn more money after your MBA? Supply and demand will dictate which jobs are available, and at what salary range. You wanted to change careers, got your MBA, but the salaries offered are less than what you earned pre-MBA—why is that? Once again, you lack the experience and the market wants experience.
Perhaps an answer to these facts is this. The market wants experienced people, who know how to get things done. If you have experience, you are a contender. The fact that you also have an MBA with experience, you will be preferred so someone who has one or the other.
There is one MBA model that offers an MBA degree plus 12 real world experiences that the graduate can point to in pursuit of a new job. The CIAM MBA model requires all students to participate in teams, in a real company, solving real problems, resulting in real experience post-graduation. Each student consults in 12 different companies—something to show off at the time of an interview. The CIAM graduates are prepared for leadership, executive management, consulting, and entrepreneurship. A typical MBA graduate does not get this kind of practical experience along with a degree, as with the CIAM MBA.
Here are some facts about CIAM. First, a degree costs $20,000, complete with textbooks. Second, the degree can be earned in 11 to 22 months, depending on whether the student can take 1 or 2 courses per each of the 6 terms. Third, the student learns by doing—actual work in real companies, solving real problems. The student gets 12 such experiential opportunities in his/her MBA program at CIAM.
Before you decide for or against an MBA, for your own reasons, check out what you will need to know post-graduation. If you have plenty of work experience, most MBA programs will work. If you need some experience to get noticed, or different experience that you do not currently possess, the CIAM MBA may be just right for you. If you have to pay your own way, CIAM is more affordable than almost all of the MBA programs offered today.
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