To MBA or not to MBA? Part Two: The Disadvantages

mba-graduate-2In the first post of this two-part series, I discussed the benefits to an MBA. In this day and age, more and more people are asking: is an MBA really a necessity? While some people view an MBA as prestigious and the only route to a well-paying job in business of finance, some people are seeing it as antiquated, or at the very least, lacking when weighing challenges against benefits.


Here are some of the reasons why you might not want to get an MBA:


Cost: This is one of the biggest factors. MBA programs are usually more expensive even than other graduate programs at the same school. The prestige that goes along with an MBA also comes with a hefty markup. According for Forbes, the average cost of an MBA is six-figures. And that’s for the education alone. Lost income, as well as living expenses during your tenure in the program can cost that amount again or even more. If you’re taking out loans to pay for your education, factor in the interest as well. While the argument against this is that an MBA graduate has a statistically higher earning power, you may still be able to earn the same amount of money without the MBA.


Difficulty Standing Out: The most popular master’s degree is an MBA. There is a huge amount of competition in the post-MBA field. Unless you went to a particularly prestigious school for your MBA, there’s a change that you might not stand out from the crowd in the job market full of MBA graduates.


Limiting Creative Thinking: According to the Australian Institute of Business, the skills learned in an MBA program are often very narrowly focused. There is not much variety in teaching methods or skill-sets learned. Management skills that are “by-the-book” will only work in so many situations. And MBA isn’t structured around creative problem solving or adapting to meet the needs of the business, it’s structured around a fairly rigid curriculum.


Some Employers Don’t Value MBAs: A degree just doesn’t mean anything without the necessary job skills and real life experience. You may have a hard time getting a job without work experience under your belt, and if your MBA didn’t teach you the relevant skill set, your MBA gives you no leg up at all. For some job opportunities, the years spent getting your MBA may be better spent interning and working your way up to gain hands-on experience.


Not All MBAs Are The Same: Unless you come from a school that is well known, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business rather than regional accreditation, and tier 1 in ranking, chances are good that your MBA will not stand out on your resume compared to others with resumes from a better school, or a candidate with the real-world experience.


You Want to be an Entrepreneur: Entrepreneurial personality types are rule-breakers or boundary-pushers. They don’t like being held back or having to conform to expectations. They particularly don’t like being told what to do. If you are self-motivated, you can learn some of the same information on your own terms. You may be spending a large portion of potential seed-money on an education, which is a large downside. And entrepreneurs are the masters of their own domain. You can determine how your business runs without an MBA just as well as you can with an MBA, if you are smart and dedicated to knowing how enterprise and business function.