Is an MBA a Waste of Time? Network vs. Knowledge

Quora: Is an MBA a waste of time?

Is an MBA a waste of time? One Quora user asked this exact question. The response they received was tremendous: dozens of answers from a diverse group of people who either got their MBA or finally decided against it. In examining the numerous responses, two very clear conclusions could be drawn.


Do an MBA for the Network/Prestige

If your GMAT scores and work experience can get you into a top MBA program (Wharton, INSEAD, Stanford, Kellogg, Harvard Business School, etc.) the network that becomes available to you opens many doors. There is a unique pride and identity that goes hand in hand with being part of these elite programs. First off, you’ll be amongst peers who are just as driven as you. And secondly, your business school professors/mentors can connect you with successful alumni.

However, don’t be blinded by thinking that getting an MBA from a top school guarantees you a great network of successful people. You still have to work at networking. If you don’t put in the effort, even in the best programs, you can and will get left behind. Since most MBAs are busy people, you need to make sure that you have something worthwhile to offer.

In the end, a top MBA degree is the key that opens the first door. It allows you to network with a select group of people you otherwise wouldn’t gain access to. How you use the network to your advantage depends entirely on you.

Other common reasons to get an MBA:

  • You need it to enter a certain job sector (Management, Marketing, Finance, Banking, HR, etc).
  • You’ve hit a wall financially and you want the chance to get paid more.
  • You want to learn how large businesses think and operate.
Don’t Get Your MBA Just for the Knowledge

Business schools promise many things. Some say that you won’t gain the knowledge and skills taught during their particular program anywhere else. This is not true. In this day and age, almost everything you can find in the classroom of the top business schools can be found online. There are countless videos, exercises, exams, forums, and case studies at our fingertips. All of this, without spending $50,000+ and 2 years of your life without a job or social life.

The MOOC concept (Massive Open Online Course) means that you can often access the exact same courses that professors are teaching in top MBA programs. The Lean MBA is a good example of an online business administration program without the high price tag. Depending on your learning style and your thirst for knowledge, you can get similar training as elite MBA students.

In the same fashion, many people learn by doing. Becoming an entrepreneur or starting your own business is a good alternative for people who want to get a firsthand look at many of the things taught in business school.

Other common reasons not to get an MBA:

  • You aren’t particularly motivated to get your MBA or are unsure about it.
  • You don’t have the time (2 years) or the money ($50-100k).
  • The school/program you got into isn’t highly ranked.

MyLeanMBA offers an affordable & flexible program called The Lean MBA. At just 299 total, this 1-year, 100% online program provides business administration training in 12 functional areas of business.

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