The MBA is worth it for the right people, no question about it. But are you one of them?
This week Angela Guido outlines three kinds of people and why they should get an MBA: some of whom should be starting their applications by the end of this video. The MBA is CRAZY useful for your career and, if you’re one of these people, it can lead you to more opportunity, more success and more chance to do good in this world. We have helped hundreds of people get into business school, and so many have gone on to great things post MBA, but it isn’t for everyone. You really need to know who should get an MBA. You also need to know who shouldn’t: so come back next week, when we’ll talk about that.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Last week we talked about Is an MBA Worth It in 2022? And where we arrived was where we frequently arrive in our MBA Monday videos, which is it depends. There is no one blanket right answer for everyone. And what I'm trying to do on this channel is to empower you to make the right decision for you using logic, reason, and a little bit of common sense. So if you're still grappling with the question of whether or not an MBA is worth it, you probably want to know, under what circumstances is an MBA actually worth it? Today, I'm going to help you decide if you are one of the three types of people who probably should pursue an MBA.
It's Not All About Top 10 B-Schools
All right, what I'm not going to talk about in this video is the importance of applying only to a top 10 program. There's a lot of nonsense out there about the fact that if you don't get a top 10 MBA, it's not going to be worth it. You're not going to get a return on your investment. That can be true for some people, depending on the jobs that they want to go into post MBA, but for most people seeking an MBA in one of the three categories of people who should get an MBA, almost any MBA is probably going to get you what you want. So let's look at this. Who are the three types of people who really should get an MBA?
3 Types Of People Who Should Consider An MBA
The first type of person who probably should get an MBA is really the most obvious. You work already in an industry where an advanced degree is required.
This is jobs such as management consulting, investment banking, private equity… in these fields, if you don't have an advanced degree, you're not going to be able to progress to the partner level, to the most senior level. They just assume that you will have some kind of advanced degree. Consulting firms, more and more, are hiring JDs, MDs, people with PhDs. They're hiring people from a variety of advanced degree programs, but if you're already a consultant and you're looking to come back to consulting, the MBA is going to make the most sense. It's the most expedient, it's the most immediately relevant, and in many cases, your company is even going to pay you to get that MBA. So that one is a no-brainer. People for whom they need it to keep going in their current field obviously should go for the MBA.
The second category of people who really probably should get an MBA are people who want to make a very big pivot in their career.
So let's say you started your career as an accountant and you've done a really good job of learning the tools of the trade, getting your certifications, managing people – you've really mastered accounting, but as you look into your future, you say, you know what? I don't think I want to go all the way to the top in this accounting firm. I actually want to do something where I'm not just interpreting the numbers and making sure they're compliant for tax purposes, I actually want to be one of the people making decisions about which numbers get increased and where we make investments and how to reduce costs. You want to move into investment banking, or you want to move into consulting, or you want to move into corporate finance, or even you want to make a really radical pivot and move into marketing. Forget about finance and the effect of investment decisions, you want to be someone connecting with customers. We all start our careers in the best place we can think of when we're 21 years old. Your first job is not necessarily going to resonate with your sense of purpose and passion. So if you're someone who is making progress in your career and you can see that there's something really different that you want to be doing, the MBA is almost certainly going to be the easiest way to make that pivot, because marketing programs at top companies hire MBA even if they have no marketing experience. Same thing with consulting. Same thing with investment banking. There are tricks and tools to getting recruited in all the different industries, and every company is a little bit different. So this is not a blanket applicable statement that just because you're a strong accountant, you can automatically move into marketing at Nike – there's a whole journey you're going to have to go on but the MBA will give you access to make that pivot in a way that nothing else could. So if you're a career switcher and you want to move from one function to another, or from one industry to another, or both, you should probably very seriously consider getting an MBA. Of course, it's true that the stronger the brand of the MBA, the stronger the post-MBA recruitment opportunities will be for you. But that doesn't mean that a top 50 or even a top 100 global MBA program isn't going to give you access to jobs that you can't get any other way. And so when we're calculating whether an MBA is worth it or not, you look at it this way: you've got one possible future with an MBA, and without it, you don't have any of those possibilities. It's like going from zero to a hundred. Is it worth it? Yes or no? Binary? Probably yes. So that's the second category of person who should get an MBA.
The third are people who maybe are not in consulting, banking, et cetera, where you need an MBA, and maybe you're not even planning to make a pivot.
Maybe you're really happy in nonprofit management or in marketing at a consumer goods company, but you have strong ambitions to rise higher in your field, and you want to do it quickly. The other thing that the MBA is really great for is accelerating your career. Enabling you to move faster up through the rankings. It does this, not because necessarily of the stamp on your passport or the brand of your MBA, it does it because the MBA education teaches you holistically how business works. So if you’re going to be a leader in the field of marketing, you also need to understand corporate finance, strategy, operations, product development, and the supply chain of your organization. You need to be able to converse across functions and understand how your function fits in with the rest of the business. That's what's going to enable you to rise up faster, because you have a bigger picture understanding of how your industry and how your business works. So the third group of people for whom an MBA is usually a really good decision are people who are happy, more or less with their function and industry and they just want to accelerate their path to the top.
Today we talked about the shoulds next week we're going to talk about the shouldn'ts. It's much juicier. What are the three categories of people who shouldn't – probably – get an MBA? I'll see you next week.
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