Ayush Verma

Is an MBA Worth It?

a woman at her desk pondering if an mba is worth it

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration degree, sets up professionals for career success, increased opportunities, and higher paychecks. It gives them broad foundational knowledge of business across critical areas like marketing, finance, technology, and accounting as well as helps them acquire some vital leadership and soft skills. At the same time, earning that coveted MBA degree from a top business school not only costs you a large sum of money, it is also a challenging and grueling experience in a hyper-competitive environment.

In this post, I’ll go over the pros and cons of getting an MBA and answer the million-dollar question – Is an MBA degree worth it? And just like any good MBA program will teach you, the answer to this complicated question is – It depends. It depends on your various factors, including:

  • Your personal situation
  • Career aspirations
  • Financial capabilities
  • External circumstances.

Understanding the MBA Degree

Before we begin to decode the value of an MBA, it is essential to understand exactly what an MBA degree is. MBA is the most popular graduate management degree that is internationally recognized and designed to help you acquire basic management knowledge and skills necessary to excel in careers in business and management.

Today, MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes – Full-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Part-Time MBA, and the recently popular Online MBA. MBA programs also differ based on the duration of the course. For example, while most full-time MBA programs usually last two years and require you to reside on campus, some full-time MBA programs accelerate the process and let you walk away with the degree within a year. Furthermore, there are various specialized MBA programs that focus on a particular subject area. Before understanding the pros and cons, it is good to have a clear understanding of the various types of MBA programs.

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Pros and Cons to Getting an MBA

Now that we have gained a basic understanding of the different types of MBA programs, it is time to discuss the pros and cons of each of these to decide which program suits you the best.

MBA Program Pros Cons
Full Time / Traditional MBA
  • Typically the most valued and recognized in the industry
  • Great networking and peer learning opportunities
  • Best business school experience with access to clubs, speakers, counseling, and much more.
  • Typically the most expensive, with top b-schools costing upwards of $100,000.
  • Have a rigorous courseload and rigid timelines that students need to follow
Part-Time MBA
  • Ability to earn an MBA degree without leaving your job.
  • Very little spare time to enjoy activities outside of work or study.
Executive MBA
  • Allows highly experienced professionals to earn an MBA degree while managing other personal commitments.
  • Has higher acceptance rates than most traditional MBA programs
  • Hectic schedule managing both college and work commitments
  • Limited specialization options as most professionals have years of experience in a particular area and find it hard to transition or explore other options
Online MBA
  • Flexibility to complete the program from home or remote location
  • Chance to earn an MBA degree at a fraction of the cost.

  • Losing out on the networking opportunities available on-campus
  • Could result in a sub-par learning experience and limited knowledge absorption.

What to Consider Before Applying for an MBA

Now that we understand the different forms of MBA available today, we can begin to answer the question regarding the true worth of an MBA program. As we discussed earlier, the true value of an MBA program greatly varies across different individuals. There are several personal factors and considerations that are important to understand before evaluating an MBA degree.

Below are some of the top factors you must research about your MBA program and the business school before deciding to take the plunge:

  1. The Reputation of the B-School: The school brand and reputation matter a lot, especially for business majors. Students who attended Tier 1 B-schools earn significantly more than their peers who went to schools that were in the middle of the pack. While not a precise aspect, university rankings are a pretty good measure of a student’s capabilities.
  2. Career Prospects and Growth Potential: Various factors like Academic Support and Career Services, Class Size, and Curriculum Design play an important role in the overall growth at a B-school. The

    The overall experience is also driven by the Campus Life, Extracurricular Activities, Clubs and Societies, etc. So spend a lot of time scrolling through the college websites and talking to alums from the college to get a better idea of the kind of place that resonates with you and what you want to take from your MBA experience.

    1. Cost of the MBA Program: Like with so many things in life, the sticker price on most B-schools is not usually what you will end up paying. You must think about the overall cost overheads before joining any institute. Apart from other things, the location matters a lot in deciding your overhead cost. Think carefully if you wish to stay close to your own home, or are comfortable relocating to another place. Pursuing an MBA from a top college can be expensive and you must check for scholarships and other financial aid opportunities at the colleges you are interested in.
    2. Post MBA Salary Increase: B-school’s placement rates, average salary offered to graduate class, sectors and fields that recruit from the college, and average increment on pre-MBA salary are critical factors to consider as they give an indication about the success and depth of each program.
    3. Networking Opportunities and Peer Group: Networking is one of the most valuable takeaways from any MBA program. Students can form long-lasting friendships and bonds as well as create a circle of colleagues that can help boost their careers. MBA is the best opportunity to build up a vast and influential network since it can provide access to school alumni, experts professors, and peers who come with a wealth of industry experience and knowledge.

Deciding if an MBA is Worth It

In summary, we hope you recognize that any MBA program is a big investment, and the value of an MBA program is dependent on various personal as well as contextual factors. Nevertheless, a few typical circumstances in which different MBA programs could add tremendous value to your professional career path are listed below:

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  1. Traditional MBA: You get into one of the top schools with global recognition and figure out financing options (like scholarships or interest-free loans) to absorb some of the cost.
  2. Executive MBA program: You have a significant amount of work experience under your belt and want to accelerate your growth in the area or sector you work in.
  3. Part-time MBA: You need the degree for a specific reason that does not rely on networking or recruiting opportunities.
  4. Online MBA: You need a flexible option and can verify that the program is well-adapted to the online platform.


    • Ayush Verma

      Ayush is a Test Prep Expert and Application Coach actively involved in the Test Prep and Application Consulting space for several years now. He is a GMAT 99 Percentiler and has extensive experience in delivering private tutoring sessions for GMAT, GRE, and SAT exams. Ayush has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and an MBA in Strategy from the Indian School of Business. He is an ardent ManUnited fan and when he is not helping students understand that tricky GMAT question or write that dreaded Why MBA answer, he would be likely cheering for his team at Old Trafford (GGMU). To connect with him, feel free to reach out to him via LinkedIn or his website Test Prep Buddy.

    • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

      Rachel is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin’s Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn’t strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

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