Posted almost 3 years ago

Is An MBA (Or Any Master's Degree) Worth It?

Graduate thinking about her master's degree

Growing up, I was always told to go to college in order to get a good job. I was under the impression that the more schooling I had, the better off I'd be. I always had a higher opinion of someone if they had a master's degree. I looked up to them and admired the hard work and extra schooling they went through. My dad also had a master's degree in mathematics, and he was the smartest person I knew.

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As of 2016, around 9% of the U.S. population now has their master's degree. This number continues to grow as people try to find ways to stand out in a crowded job market. The biggest problem, for most people, is that the cost of graduate school continues to outpace inflation. This makes it increasingly more difficult for people to justify the expense. In fact, there is currently over $1.2 trillion of student debt in the U.S.

This begs the question, is a master's degree worth it?

The Path I Chose

My goal was to eventually start my own business, which led me to choose business as my major in college. After hating my first job out of college, I made the decision to go back to school for my MBA. I figured that my MBA would help educate me and give me the tools I needed to run my own business.

I learned a lot during my MBA program, and I made a lot of great connections. I also became much more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. The MBA program covered a lot of the fundamentals of business, such as marketing, management, accounting, etc.

A lot of good came from my MBA program. My courses helped me build the confidence to start my own business. I've also developed a lot of strong relationships with the people I met during my time there. It's hard to put a value on that.

On the other hand, my MBA was expensive. I'm still working on paying off my debt, which is limiting my cash flow for my company. A lot of my courses were very similar to my undergraduate courses, too. Sometimes it felt like I was retaking the same class I already took.

Was It Worth It?

It's difficult for me to say. There are so many different factors to consider when trying to answer this question. Looking back, I would say that getting my MBA probably wasn't worth the investment. I've learned much more while running my own business than I did during my time in graduate school. There's just nothing that compares to real-world experience.

It's also painful to think about how much farther along my business would be if I didn't go back to school. I would've had a lot more time to focus on the business and more a lot more money to invest in it. That would've gone a long way in the development of our company and the improvement of our operations.

Graduation cap and diploma

Now, this isn't to say that a master's degree wouldn't be worth it for everyone. I believe it primarily comes down to what you want to do in life. If you're stuck trying to climb the corporate ladder, a master's degree can be a great way to help you move up. It can also help you differentiate yourself from others when trying to get a higher level position.

It's also very possible to find cheaper programs with flexible class schedules. This can enable you to focus on other things while earning your degree in your spare time while avoiding large student debts. The downside to this is that the program might not be as prestigious and might not help you as much in your career.

The important thing is to choose the best decision for you and your career goals. Just because other people say you should go to graduate school, doesn't mean they're right. This is a big reason why you should ignore most people's advice on how to be successful. Do what's right for you.