I graduated with a Masters in Business Administration in 2013. I attended an accelerated evening program that worked well with my schedule. I spent two years of my life going to work, coming home and writing papers, sleeping and then going back to work only to repeat the cycle again.
In my last class, I remember the professor saying “After this you are an MBA. From now on YOU are the expert in business.” I was so excited. I wanted to be an expert. I couldn’t wait to see what my life as an MBA would bring. I was sorely disappointed.
It Was A Bad Financial Decision
I had a full academic scholarship to Ohio State University for my undergraduate degree. I managed to graduate without any student loans. Then I got it in my head that I wanted an MBA. I already had a good job in Human Resources, but I thought this would give me the necessary edge to advance my career.
When I graduated with my MBA I had $32,000 of debt. Millennials are currently facing one of the worst student debt crisis this country has ever seen. The cost of an MBA has risen 24% in the last three years alone. So in that sense, I was lucky to only have 5 figure debt as opposed to six figures. But this added an almost $400 monthly payment to my life. I never had to deal with debt before and this was a rude awakening. I had convinced myself that an MBA was worth the money when I took out the loans to pay for my education. But, upon graduating, I realized that maybe it really wasn’t. Afterall, I wanted it to advance my career, but…
I Ended Up In The Same Place
I had heard so many stories about MBA graduates telling their employer they graduated and instantly receiving a promotion or a raise. When I graduated, this was not the case. My Human Resources job was still the same job. I was not offered any promotions or raises just for graduating. Ultimately, what mattered in my job was how well I was doing my job. My MBA never factored in.
I eventually worked my way up a few more levels and continued to receive my yearly raises. But, my leaders always sited my performance as the reasoning for my advancement. My MBA meant nothing to leadership. The only thing that ended up helping to advance my career was my own good work.
The Market Is Saturated With MBAs
Although I was happy my work was being recognized and rewarded, I couldn’t understand why my MBA didn’t carry the weight I thought it would. I had seen my sister go through a similar struggle after graduating from law school. I knew she was talented and well educated, but still she struggled to find a job.
With my MBA and my sister’s law degree, the reason we didn’t quickly advance as we envisioned was partly because the market is saturated. Everywhere I turn, there is another MBA. I had peers with MBAs, people beneath me with MBAs. It’s like people were plucking diplomas off trees. Suddenly, having those three letters after your name on a resume doesn’t carry the same weight when every other resume has the same three letters.
I soon realized that I needed to be grateful for the job I had even if it was the same job I had before my MBA. It was a great job. I just didn’t need an MBA to get there.
You Can Get A Google Degree
Don’t get excited. Google is not opening up any universities that I know of. Google degree is just what I now call my MBA. That’s because most things I learned that advanced my career, I learned from Google.
Yes, going to graduate school taught me a lot. I learned how to run a business, if my business was a textbook situation. The real life experience was rudimentary and intern level work. Where I really learned was at my day job. I was working in Organizational Design which was a brand new human resources function for our company.. There were only two people in the entire 7000 person company that knew how to do this job and I was one of them (my boss was the other). We were both new to this type of work and we had to teach ourselves how to do it. Where did I turn? Google. For everything.
My Google education is what taught me to do my job well. My Google education is the reason I received promotions and raises. This is when I fully realized how obsolete my MBA was. So long as you have the will to do well in your work and do your own research, this is what will truly enhance your performance. And performance is the only true way to advance your career.
An MBA just is not worth it with rising tuition costs and the saturated market. Ultimately what matters is your experience and how well you do your job. Anything else you can learn from researching online. Save your money and skip the MBA.
Think an MBA is still worth it? Let us know why in the comments!