Is an MBA worth it these days?

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BeanCity
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Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by BeanCity » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm

I've graduated with my undergrad in engineering and have worked in the construction industry now about 5 years. I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.

I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?

Minderbinder
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Minderbinder » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:06 pm

Personally I think a CFA is a way better ROI if you can pass all 3 levels.

oxy10
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by oxy10 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:12 pm

It's only worth it if you can get into a top ten school. I was in engineering and thought I needed to get an MBA to switch into a business field. Had to move to NYC when my wife's residency matched there. Made the leap of trying to transition without the MBA and landed a dream job. The icing on the cake was a year later seeing a Columbia MBA new grad not make it through the interview process for the same level job.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:13 pm

I do not have an MBA myself, but I am surrounded by MBAs in my place of work and among my circle of friends I have two graduates of Wharton, two U of Texas MBA graduates, and a current Stanford MBA student. I can not recall a single individual ever telling me that the MBA education was "worth it," but the networking can certainly be. From an ROI standpoint, my 4 friends who went to top programs all got an immediate ROI in the form of new - higher compensating - job opportunities. For those I know who went to lesser known schools...yeah, not so much. I generally don't believe that you should pay for a "name" school, but with an MBA, my experience suggests most of the value is in the name.

runner3081
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by runner3081 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:31 pm

Depends on where you work/industry. For me, yes, absolutely critical (MBA or MHA). It is fully expected of those in my position level and higher.

This is in healthcare.

As far as value to me and my skills or knowledge? Nothing, really.

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simplesimon
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by simplesimon » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:37 pm

What's the difference in pay between what you earn now vs what you would earn in the role you want to be in?

I changed careers and did a full-time program at a business school outside of the top 20 but was able to make the ROI worth it by networking very hard and landing a banking job (I have a biology degree and worked in pharma manufacturing before business school).

You're paying for a fine network of classmates as well as access to corporate recruiters who target MBA's and the value increases exponentially the better the school you go to (since UT and SMU probably cost the same). If it's a career switch you seek, the MBA will definitely help with that if you're hitting major roadblocks via networking without it.

If you do decide to do it, don't rush into it. Come back and ask about how to position yourself to be the best applicant possible. Plus it'll give you more time to save for that costly piece of paper!

srt7
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by srt7 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:39 pm

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I've graduated with my undergrad in engineering and have worked in the construction industry now about 5 years. I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.

I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?
How many other senior members in your industry and in the position you aspire to get have a combination of Engineering and MBA degrees?

Also, who tells you that you need a MBA to be taken seriously? Do they have a solid (Engineering) degree like you with 5+ years of experience? Be careful of advice you get as some crooks will try to sell advice that is in reality their way of keeping the competition away.

At 5 years I don't think you are that early in your career. In fact, I think you're at the prime position to start an MBA. But as your first assignment as a business student ... What is the ROI of a business degree at Rice/UT/etc. to you? When do you anticipate to break even? etc. etc.
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:44 pm

oxy10 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:12 pm
It's only worth it if you can get into a top ten school. I was in engineering and thought I needed to get an MBA to switch into a business field. Had to move to NYC when my wife's residency matched there. Made the leap of trying to transition without the MBA and landed a dream job. The icing on the cake was a year later seeing a Columbia MBA new grad not make it through the interview process for the same level job.
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Helo80 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:03 pm

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?

If your goal is high $$$ Fortune 500 C-suite type jobs, you're going to want to go into a top school. If I'm not mistaken, Gmatclub.com is the homebase (like BH but for MBA schools) to learn about that world, competitive scores, work experience, etc. That's where you should start reading. You are going to want to do really well on the GMAT. Big companies recruit from the top 20 (I think) MBA schools... not so much from local programs. Also, politics (not democrat/republican) is important and building network connections is HUGE in these top MBA programs.

If your goal is broaden your knowledge of the business world and stay local to where you are now... maybe be competitive for other roles in your current company, maybe job hop to a similarly suited competitor down the road, a local MBA may be for you.

MBAs, like law degrees, have been commoditized.

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patrick013
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by patrick013 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:09 pm

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.
What would be the cost of a second BS degree ? Nothing in Finance
it wouldn't cover. Tuition has risen and it's hard to justify it.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

jminv
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by jminv » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:02 pm

In the private sector, you're not generally going to have a super high ROI if you can't get into an 'elite' program. Generally doesn't mean you can't. You can still have a decent ROI at a non-elite program but that might really be about checking a box at your current company or industry that allows you to progress in your current career. Lots of people do this with success and it can keep them from remaining stuck in their current position.

Note that a lot of the should I do a mba/is a mba worth it threads will be anti-mba for a variety of reasons and pro-elite mba for others. People that graduate from an elite program will tend to overstate the effect that the mba had on their career and those that decided not to pursue a mba and went into business will view it as anachronistic and unneccessary even though there are clearly cases where it makes sense for some people. A degree from an elite program is a piece of paper that's really a signalling device.

My own anectodal story that's somewhat relevant to your own industry/situation is that I worked in an industry where I was told by different top level managers that having a mba didn't matter - except that I knew that some of top management had mbas from elite programs (even these people said that it didn't matter). I applied to an elite program, was accepted, and quit the company. Once I was in the elite program and corporate realized where I was going, my old company wanted me to work for them part time while at school at a salary greater than I had been earning previously while simultaenously offering me a position at graduation that would turn into a ceo role of a subsidiary. I declined because I no longer had an interest in working for the company and ended up doing something completely different that made me happy and was very rewarding. It was pretty clear that while a lower ranked mba may not have mattered in my industry and company, a top ranked one did regardless of what people initially said. A piece of paper from a place with a name can be very valuable. The network that is associated with the name can also open a number of doors for you, both when finding the first post-mba job and later on in your career.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:29 am

I recently graduated from a top tier MBA and had classmates who were interested in real estate. The majority of them wanted to get into real estate development or real estate private equity, as I recall. The “investment” side of real estate. Some of them already worked in the construction industry.

The classmates ran a very active real estate student club that would meet regularly with alumni and executives in the real estate industry, and they put on an annual real estate conference. All of these provided opportunities to network with professionals in the field. Several classmates graduated with job offers in real estate development despite having no prior experience (one was a Teach for America teacher before the MBA).

I hear a lot that the MBA is only good for “networking”. I dispute that, but even if it were true, “networking” is not just drinking and making small talk. It’s learning about career paths and industries and value drivers and competitive dynamics within those industries, to better understand where you want to go, and to better equip you to get there successfully. I don’t know the first thing about commercial real estate development. But if I wanted to explore that as a career, I can send out introductory emails on LinkedIn, and have confidence that 80%+ of the alumni would be happy to make time to talk to me. Within a few weeks I could probably learn enough about the industry to be intelligent in an interview, and within a few months if I was really serious about it I could probably have a job offer in hand, if not in CRE development, at least in a role that sets me up for development in a few years’ time.

Anyway, could all this be done without the MBA? Possibly. But it’s harder and your odds are lower each step along the way.
Last edited by HEDGEFUNDIE on Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:56 am

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I've graduated with my undergrad in engineering and have worked in the construction industry now about 5 years. I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.

I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?
- you could do an MBA part time or executive?

- outside the top 10-15 MBAs the return on the investment is probably not that high

The "dirty secret" of MBAs is that all MBA programmes follow a similar curriculum. The top tier FT schools provide an entry card into elite employers, elite classmates (you'll find many of them worked for Goldman Sachs, McKinsey etc. the "3 Ms" of Harvard Business School are {Mormon, Military, McKinsey}.

But the academic content is broadly the same at the executive MBAs or the part time ones or the more regional schools.

If you do decide to go full time at a strong regional school, make sure the alumni are present in your industry - that will be your opening card.

I would add that the intellectual and personal experience is unparalleled (although diluted in a part time programme because there's less time to socialize and interact).

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hand
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by hand » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:10 am

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?
Take a look at bios of those working in roles you are interested in... do these jobs require brand name MBAs, recognized MBAs or just MBAs?
There are many situations where any-old MBA will serve to validate some basic financial skills and interest and make more economic sense than a big name/ big cost degree.

Once you consider forgone salary, $250+k for a top MBA is daunting, perhaps much lower tuition and no loss of salary at a part time program will still get you where you want to go. Holy grail of this approach is finding an employer who offers tuition benefits while you go to school at night.

BSA44
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by BSA44 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:24 am

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?
I'm an MBA professor, so I obviously will have a self-serving view. However, I would argue that one of the benefits that seems to be missed in the prior posts is the learning opportunities (both from an intrinsic value perspective but also a way to achieve a better ROI). For instance, I teach MBA negotiations, and from conversation with past students, I believe they feel that the course as quite a good ROI. As long as you aren't already an expert negotiator, if the course enables you to even negotiates 5% higher salaries during your lifetime, the entire MBA will have paid for itself and then some (and that is only one course). Could you find and watch 30 hours of lectures online similar to mine and find friends to do the 15 practice 1-hour negotiation simulations with to hone your skills...sure. But, would you be likely to do that one your own...not likely. And that's just one course. Obviously, this isn't a benefit restricted to top tier MBA programs only, but rather would be a benefit of most any program (well at least programs that are good enough to recruit profs who actually know what they are teaching). Regardless, though, the learning benefit stack with the benefits of what others have mentioned of strong programs.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by BSA44 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:28 am

hand wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:10 am
Once you consider forgone salary, $250+k for a top MBA is daunting, perhaps much lower tuition and no loss of salary at a part time program will still get you where you want to go. Holy grail of this approach is finding an employer who offers tuition benefits while you go to school at night.
UT's MBA program (the original poster noted), which while not HBS, but is still quite a strong program, is less than half cost you noted.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by msk » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:32 am

Minderbinder wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:06 pm
Personally I think a CFA is a way better ROI if you can pass all 3 levels.
+1

GRP
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by GRP » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:38 am

Probably not.

As other's have mentioned, the ROI vs opportunity cost consideration is usually only good if you can get into an elite school.

But even then, so what? If you can get into an elite school to study business, you might as well use your acceptance to study something even more useful like mathematics, engineering, physics, etc.

That way you get the elite school on your resume in addition to some genuinely useful skills.

As someone with a business degree from a highly recognized school, I can tell you with confidence that just about everything I learned I could have easily done so on my own. More difficult topics such as physics actually benefit from having formal classes. Business? Not as much.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by TheOscarGuy » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:46 am

Minderbinder wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:06 pm
Personally I think a CFA is a way better ROI if you can pass all 3 levels.
Do you know that you can not be a charterholder unless you also have 4 years of experience in investment decision making process? How would OP do that if he isn't in finance in the first place?

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Bacchus01 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:11 am

I’m going to go somewhat against the grain here.

Is an MBA worth it? Heck yes. If you do it right.

I do elieve the networking and prestige of a HBS, Kellog or Wharton is likely worth it, if you know how to use it. Networking is WORK and you need to manage it. You still have to work extremely hard at your job, take the tough assignments and generally run faster than all your peers.

The other place I think an MBA is valuable is from a regional quality public school. I don’t believe the second tier private MBAs are remotely good ROI. A good example is that here in Wisconsin, I see guys spending $100K+ on a Marquette MBA. Why? UW-Whitewater is just as good an MBA for 1/3 the cost and regionally has just as many networking opportunities.

Now, I think there is no value in for-profit MBA plans, eMBAs, or online MBAs. Just. No.

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hand
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by hand » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:58 am

BSA44 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:28 am
hand wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:10 am
Once you consider forgone salary, $250+k for a top MBA is daunting, perhaps much lower tuition and no loss of salary at a part time program will still get you where you want to go. Holy grail of this approach is finding an employer who offers tuition benefits while you go to school at night.
UT's MBA program (the original poster noted), which while not HBS, but is still quite a strong program, is less than half cost you noted.
Sorry, could have been clearer... I was estimating:
$50k / yr for tuition,
$50k / yr in forgone salary during a full time program,
$15k for living expenses,
$10k for incidentals (forgone retirement savings match and other opportunities, health insurance, travel, lag between end of job, start of school, start of new job)
= $125k / year in cost
2 Years = $~250k and obviously a bit higher on almost all of these costs for a top program.

This is a bargain for entry to top career tracks out of top schools, but perhaps not economic for more pedestrian jobs that simply requires a basic competency in financial / business topics.

Anyone considering an MBA should consider which path they are likely to travel down and be sure that their economic outlay is in line with likely returns.

Andyrunner
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Andyrunner » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:03 am

Depends. In my company you can only become a manager if you have an MBA, doesn't matter where it is from.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by badger42 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:07 am

I have a state school MBA from a solid part-time "working professional" program. While I had fewer billable hours (was doing independent consulting at the time) I didn't have to quit my job. Actual tuition was on the order of $30k total.

The thing the straight-up ROI calculations miss is that the MBA doesn't just give you new skills and an expanded network, it also gives you tools to expand your scope and influence. My roles before the MBA were all deeply technical. My current role requires somebody who can both be deeply technical (though more "architecture" than hands-on, but the technical credibility is important) and really understand and work with the business side.

There is no way I would have been able to get or keep my current job pre-MBA.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by GibsonL6s » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:09 am

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.
I am in this industry. An MBA while good for networking and general finance may not provide you as many of the skills you need.

You should also consider an MRED program. Where you would be immersed in RE.

Additionally, many of these skills can be obtained by taking extension courses which offer certificates in RE like a UCLA or industry education sources like the CCIM program. These obviously cost less than an MBA and are usually taught by people currently in the field.

PM if you wish to discuss more.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:15 am

How about CPA?

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by megabad » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:01 pm

BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.
This to me is key. In my experience in large companies, if you want to be a finance guy, you need a finance degree. Therefore, I interpret your question to be "Is an MBA worth it..if you want to change careers into finance"? My answer is yes, because I don't believe you can get a finance job without a finance education. However, if you choose to do this full time (and full cost), I would venture that most would never make enough money to get a "return on your investment" though you may be happier doing something different. But you don't have to go full time in my experience if all you want to do is a horizontal career move within the same industry. Just take the tuition assistance (if available) and go part time for a few years.

I have only met a few MBAs in my lifetime that really made a killing (and they all came from Harvard and Penn). I have met far more successful folks that have BA/BS from a run of the mill state school that run entire divisions at large companies.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by sp0704 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:56 pm

I work in commercial real estate and don't think an MBA is what you need. For real estate, you can get a master's in real estate degree from a wider range of institutions, which is more tailored to the industry you want to be within. Your contacts are essentially telling you that you need some academic background/knowledge in order to make the transition into an analysis position with a developer/investor, where you will likely be competing with other talent with undergrad real estate degrees and possibly graduate level finance/real estate degrees. Your work experience will likely help you transition into a development or similar role and will be a talking point in an interview, but it's not going to land you a position over someone who has experience with Excel and Argus, understands the application of cap rates, market analysis, and numerous other real estate concepts and applications that can be gained by attending a reputable real estate program. Essentially, that piece of paper will give a potential employer some comfort of your basic understanding of these concepts and applications.

One other route you could take that could bypass the immediate need for a real estate focused degree is seeking a project management role with a developer and running projects from the owner's side. Sometimes, these roles are called development managers, and you could potentially get involved with underwriting over time by getting in at this level.

It should be noted that several masters in real estate programs are offered part time with evening courses and you could potentially transition into a role you're seeking prior to completion of the program just by having some progress, as an employer would see your motivation.
BeanCity wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:45 pm
I've graduated with my undergrad in engineering and have worked in the construction industry now about 5 years. I want to get into the financial side of construction for commercial real estate, where I would evaluate/run financials on new deals.

I have networked quite a bit and repeatedly get told I need an MBA or finance degree to really be taken seriously. I am daunted by the cost of an MBA from a recognized school like SMU, UT, Rice, etc...so my major question remains, is an MBA worth it? Is it a commodity these days for people early in their careers?

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by chrisjul » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:02 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:31 pm
Depends on where you work/industry. For me, yes, absolutely critical (MBA or MHA). It is fully expected of those in my position level and higher.

This is in healthcare.

As far as value to me and my skills or knowledge? Nothing, really.


I agree. Depends. My company expected an MBA also.......got me promoted several times. NEVER used it! Company paid for the degree, but I lost 2 yrs 9 months doing it.

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:22 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by niners9088 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:45 pm

I did what you are considering about 10 years ago. I received the advice that you should only go full-time if you can get into a top tier program, if not go part-time. I took my GMATs, did well, and got into a few top tier programs. As other have mentioned the costs are probably around $250k total when including opportunity costs. At the time was an engineer making ~$50k and 2 years later upon graduation I doubled my salary to ~$100k. The total payback on the $250k was probably around 4 years as my salary continued to grow.

Could I have done it going part-time perhaps. From my experience the numbers on both sides are lower but probably fairly similar.

As I did I'd start with taking the GMATs and applying. Maybe you'll get a full ride to Harvard and that will simplify your decision :D .

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Cycle » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:09 pm

I contemplated an MBA, and even started studying for the gmat... I decided to get a master's in engineering instead.

I figured most business concepts can be learned through application. There are plenty of resources to educate ones self. Many of the best business books on all topics are organized and summarizes here https://personalmba.com/

I think it makes more sense to learn a skill when you have a problem at hand. I'd imagine many of the skills learned in b school are forgotten before they are used.

Unless you are 22, you'd have to make a LOT more with your degree than your alternative path. That alternative path could be starting a company in your free time. I did that first with real estate (landlord), and now with an Android application (in process).

retire2022
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by retire2022 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:50 pm

Beancity,

I have a BA in Art History, with electives in photography, and been in the (State & City) affordable housing field for 31 years and I live in NYC. I am a project manager and I do new construction ranging buildings range from 5 million to 90 million.

In last 8 years in this in construction finance field it is not required nor necessary, most of the work is reviewed by separate units, Underwriting, Architects, etc, so it depends on where you want to live and work.

If I wanted to be a real estate developer, best to get a law degree, engineering, or architect degree would be most helpful in the area of specialty

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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by BrooklynInvest » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:57 pm

I did my MBA part time at a decent - not top tier - school for one reason -

I needed a challenge

Loved learning new stuff, loved the rigor and because I was at a boring job, it gave me something to focus on that I believe has helped my (marketing) career at times. Although it is very hard to put a dollar value on it. I paid as I went and graduated with no loans - yay.

To me though there's the career question but the real question was always "will I enjoy doing this" 'cause if not there's a high price regardless of how much the program costs.

Good luck!

cutehumor
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by cutehumor » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:37 pm

I say the MBA is worth it, if you get into a top 20 school. Like someone else mentioned, Law degrees and MBA degrees, it matters where you went to school. I know of folks who got MBA and were still doing the same job, they didn't get promoted or was able to change careers. She was a social worker and working as a social worker, but the MBA she got was from a local public university. I work in healthcare.

Boglegrappler
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Boglegrappler » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:40 pm

These discussions always surprise me a little bit.

There are two kinds of organizations: Those that have an annual hiring program that channels young people into the firm, and has a competitive path or "track" that is relatively defined. And those that from time to time hire a person or two at a junior level, but don't really have a critical mass to their hiring/training/and development.

Both kinds of organizations exist in many industries. The larger ones are usually the more formally organized ones.

In answering your question, you should consider how the people who hold the jobs you hope to hold in 3-5 years joined their firm. Where did they come from? If they all came from a small group of business schools, take note of that.

You should also take note of their level of achievement at whatever academic platform they came from. Even if you go the "correct" school, there are some firms in some industries that will only give serious consideration to the top 5-10% of the class. If that's the case for your target firms, you'll need to evaluate whether you can be admitted to the feeder schools, and whether you can put up the performance while there to get into the pool that is considered.

For the less organized firms, which might be smaller, you might find their "must be or must have" list of things to be more flexible. The problem that they present is that they don't hire as many people, and its not regular, so you need some good luck. In contrast, the three or four best, biggest firms in your target sector might all recruit MBA's from the same five or six schools, and it happens on a schedule at the same time.

Good luck.

ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:53 am

I thought MBA's were starting to get bad publicity and I certainly couldn't afford a top school, so instead I went for an MSA (Operations concentration) from a local school. It's worked out very well for me (3 promotions and total compensation nearly tripled in 2.5 years) but I've also had a lot of lucky breaks and the best boss I could hope for.

Stormbringer
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Stormbringer » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:10 am

I started an executive MBA program while working full-time when I was 30. It was a really intense two year program, but I'm glad I did it. I'm self-employed, and some of the things I learned have been helpful. I'm not sure I could have justified it from a pure ROI perspective.

My only regret is that I had the opportunity to attend Kellogg and chose not to, due to cost and convenience factors.

At times I've considered getting a second Master's degree (in Computer Science) just for kicks, but it's a huge time commitment so I'm not sure I will ever get to that. I wouldn't mind teaching undergrad CS classes part-time as an adjunct after I retire.
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

carolinaman
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by carolinaman » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:13 am

Whether an MBA is worth it or not depends upon the individual's background and how they would use the MBA. MBAs are sometimes overkill for what someone's career. However, in your instance, I think it is a good choice because you have an engineering degree and you desire to get into the financial side of construction. The degree could also open future doors for a management career in the construction industry.

I disagree with the statement that it has to be from a "top 10" school. That would be nice, but not essential. You should be able to go to school at night or on weekends to complete your degree.

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patrick013
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by patrick013 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:32 pm

For construction projects it could be very project related.

I mean investment theory, corp theory, etc. may have very
little meaning. Even a real estate emphasis might be better.

Even a Business Administration emphasis could be less pertinent
than a Project Management emphasis.

Project approval, cash scheduling, project phases and completion.....

Actual degrees and short course certifications are advocate there.

So, check it out.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

khangaroo
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by khangaroo » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:01 pm

My experience is very similar to yours and I just recently completed my MBA as a part-time student (Portland State University) while working for a general contractor (Turner Construction) - still working for them as an MEP project engineer. The total cost was $50k which included EVERYTHING, I had a forecasting monitor and tracked every possible expense. Luckily my company has a good tuition reimbursement and paid for almost half of it. I'm going to give you my 2 cents on ways to switch to the finance side that you want.

1. Does your company have a finance/purchasing department? Ask to take a position in there to build your knowledge of the financial side. My company is quite large and had this opportunity. My goal was different than yours because I wanted the flexible hours to be able to take care of some personal items and also get my MBA. If this is available, this will be your best option in getting the experience needed for a switch.

2. As someone else suggested, I would take a look at an MRED (Masters of Real Estate Development) program that will focus more specifically on the RE industry. I've seen people go through the program at the same university and have been very successful at finding jobs. It doesn't hurt that the Portland real estate market is one of the hottest in the US right now.

For the industry you want to go in to, it's not necessary to have an MBA (it would probably be more useful getting a post-bacc finance degree). I would also highly encourage you to get tuition reimbursement from your company and do it part-time if you can. I think taking a 2 year break from working is a severe career-limiting-move if you're not going to a top 5 MBA school.

Feel free to PM if you wanna chat.

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patrick013
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by patrick013 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:03 pm

oxy10 wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:12 pm
It's only worth it if you can get into a top ten school.
It's a bunch of luck too. I know a fellow that rec'd his MBA from
a decent small local school. Knew people from the neighborhood,
one of whom was an officer at a very big regional corp..

His encouragement was an element in his securing employment
at another corporate enterprise which he worked at for a number
of years while acquiring industry specific experience. So not
everyone can be the officer while others can be the sheep, the
flock, the other corporation down the road. So be it. So the
MBA did it for this gentleman without knowing the frat house
Alpha King even.
age in bonds, buy-and-hold, 10 year business cycle

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rocket354
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by rocket354 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:15 pm

hand wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:58 am
BSA44 wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:28 am
hand wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:10 am
Once you consider forgone salary, $250+k for a top MBA is daunting, perhaps much lower tuition and no loss of salary at a part time program will still get you where you want to go. Holy grail of this approach is finding an employer who offers tuition benefits while you go to school at night.
UT's MBA program (the original poster noted), which while not HBS, but is still quite a strong program, is less than half cost you noted.
Sorry, could have been clearer... I was estimating:
$50k / yr for tuition,
$50k / yr in forgone salary during a full time program,
$15k for living expenses,
$10k for incidentals (forgone retirement savings match and other opportunities, health insurance, travel, lag between end of job, start of school, start of new job)
= $125k / year in cost
2 Years = $~250k and obviously a bit higher on almost all of these costs for a top program.

This is a bargain for entry to top career tracks out of top schools, but perhaps not economic for more pedestrian jobs that simply requires a basic competency in financial / business topics.

Anyone considering an MBA should consider which path they are likely to travel down and be sure that their economic outlay is in line with likely returns.
While the cost is potentially high, there are a few tweaks I would suggest to that calculation.
  • Living expenses exist whether your are employed or in school. They should not be considered unless going into the program requires additional living expenses for some reason. It might even result in less if you move to a lower COL area.
  • Full-time programs are typically 21 months, so your gaps in employment at the beginning and end are really already accounted for by estimating two full years of forgone salaries.
  • Internships between your first and second years are practically mandatory at many programs. So you will have some income during that time. For some, even just that internship is higher paying than any job they've ever had on a rate basis.
  • Unless you are going to Harvard/Wharton/Stanford, many and even most people do not pay full sticker price. Take any school where you don't get any sort of scholarship, and go down about 5 or 10 in the rankings, and you'll start getting offers.
  • I can tell you from experience that it's possible to work during your full-time MBA program, as well, even if just on a limited basis. The opportunity cost of that, though, is potentially forgoing lifelong friendships (connections) with classmates some of whom will be extraordinarily successful.
I went to a fairly high-ranked program for my full-time MBA. My total cost for doing so (tuition+moving+difference in living expenses+forgone wages+books) was less than $30k, which I more than made back my first year after graduation.

five2one
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by five2one » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:25 pm

I'm looking to get a MBA but I'm active military and won't use it until retirement.

I'm using it to get "paper" on a fair amount of self-taught business knowledge.
That said, I look at ROI and target salary vs tuition cost.

I'll likely get MBA in management rather than finance just due to where I expect to enter job market.
One doesn't usually retire from military and end up on wall street.

This would be my second masters with first being a Master's of Science in Management....both are brick and mortar with football teams.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:00 pm

Some random comments based on having an MBA from one of the schools (SMU, UT, Rice) mentioned by the OP, albeit a long time ago, and a CFA (mentioned by some others as an alternative), also a long time ago.

The schools mentioned by the OP are all excellent, though not top 10. Probably top 20, though. My sense is that going to a top 10 school can matter given the cost nowadays. But geography may play a part. All three mentioned by OP are in Texas, so if the plan is being in Texas you will likely be well served by either SMU, UT or Rice. Since OP mentioned real estate, I'll note that SMU was considered back in the day as having a top notch RE program. I have no idea if that is still the case, though.

It also seems like there are two schools of thought on the value of an MBA. The first is as a resume' builder. In that regard, having an MBA from the top 5 or 10 is huge. The second is the benefit of the skills learned. That's more of a you get out of it what you put in. I was super motviated for business school and learned a great deal. Especially from the classes that used the case study method. The knowledge, skills, and experience I earned advanced my career a great deal.

As for the CFA, it is a great program. And it too can be viewed as primarily either a resume builder or skills builder. I consider the CFA and MBA to be roughly equivalent in terms of academic rigor. As noted earlier, the CFA cost much less, especially today. But it is targeted towards the investment industry, so its value in other fields is limited.

SQRT
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by SQRT » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:05 am

I ended up getting an MBA as well as a CFA and CPA. All were done part time while working a full time job. Of course this was over 40 years ago. Not sure I would do it the same way if I had it to do over again. Took quite a toll on my personal life and it’s much more expensive now. MBA was at a good school but not the best.

In the end it worked out very well but it’s difficult to separate the effects of this education from other factors such as hard work, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and probably most important, just plain luck.

Very personal thing. Do you like learning? Do you have a talent in that field (ie finance). I think I did and that really helped both getting the education and succeeding in my career.

Good luck.

wrespess
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by wrespess » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:05 pm

I went to a top 5 Ivy League MBA program. I regret spending the money and would gladly give the degree back and knowledge in exchange for my tuition spent. YMMV but for me (self-employed), it was a bad investment. I'm confident that I could have learned everything for free online and I don't care about networking.

The only person that cares about my degree is my mom.

Sam1
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by Sam1 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:22 pm

Here’s my take. If you have interpersonal skills, grit, decent looks, work ethic, common sense and intelligence, you have everything you need to succeed in the business world, including high paying industries.

None of the qualities above can be taught in bschool. My spouse attended bschool and my spouse commented the other day that h/her classmates who were doing well before bschool are still doing well and those who struggled previously still aren’t thrilled with where they are professionally.

I just don’t see how an mba can really benefit an employer which is why I don’t believe they are worth the money. I can see why a law degree is as you for the most part can’t practice law without one. Same for a medical degree or various other licenses and degrees. But I’m really unaware of any jobs that truly require an MBA. I’ve worked alongside many and never felt they had any advantage over me because of their degree.

Also networking...who cares? As long as you have strong interpersonal skills, you can network without an MBA. I meet new people all the time and have all sorts of connections. I feel like the people who claim an MBA helped with networking have such horrible people skills that finally being put in contact with others seems like a huge deal of them. Whereas normal people don’t need to be an alumni of a graduate school to form connections in the business world.

Can you tell I resent paying for my spouse’s MBA?

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TxAg
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by TxAg » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:33 pm

Since you mentioned TX schools, have a look at Texas A&M's Master of Real Estate degree.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:34 pm

Sam1 wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:22 pm
Here’s my take. If you have interpersonal skills, grit, decent looks, work ethic, common sense and intelligence, you have everything you need to succeed in the business world, including high paying industries.
And how many people do you know possess all the above attributes?

For anyone who isn’t Superman/woman, an MBA (or similar signaling credential) can help.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Is an MBA worth it these days?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:47 pm

An MBA can open up opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. It's what you make of these opportunities that determines if it's worth it.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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