The most valuable part of an MBA is not your classes. It’s not the student organizations. It isn’t even the networking and other career related events that you have access to. I am not saying that these things do not have value. Meeting employers, networking with your classmates, and taking your classes seriously is important, but you can meet employers and public career fairs and professional organizations. Additionally, you can buy textbooks and teach yourself the material at home and you can attend public networking events such as Networking After Work. So, what does an MBA give you that you can’t find surfing the internet or going to public events?
Every one of your teachers is an expert in their respective field. When you are in class these teachers need to play to the whole of their audience. This means that the information will be general so as to be applicable to as many situations as possible (your supply-chain teacher has to teach people who will be sourcing local materials, others who will be sourcing internationally, some who will be selling goods, and others who will be selling services). This lack of personalization can often be frustrating when attempting to apply these lessons in your job.
However, (at least at Bauer) teachers are more than willing to set up meetings with students to answer specific questions. I have been able to meet with professors on strategic leadership to determine who my family construction business should hire. I have been able to meet with an executive coach on staff who has worked as a CEO and negotiated deals with companies such as Disney. I also have an upcoming meeting with a marketing professor of mine to discuss segmentation, targeting and positioning for the tech startup I advise. And just yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with the Dean of our business school, Dean Ramchand, to discuss my personal and professional projects. This was only three weeks after sending two emails to organize the meeting. What I mean to say is that an MBA gives you almost unrestricted access to experts in whatever field you may need personalized advice. All you have to do is reach out!