The True Value of an MBA

Someone recently asked me if an MBA is really worth the investment. 

We even discussed the true Return on Investment (ROI) which made me think about my MBA experience for a couple days.

The short answer is yes, an MBA is worth the time, energy, and money.  Just look at the data:

  • There has been a 10% increase in MBA salaries in the past decade 
  • For full-time students, they see an 81% "average increase in post-degree salary" and part-time students see a 53% rise in post-degree salary

Then there is the experiential information.  Many of my classmates are earning 2-3X the salary now that they are graduated compared to before their MBA.

However, those are the basic stats that do not tell the entire story of an MBA.  There is a much deeper true value to an MBA which is difficult to quantify yet easy to explain.  

Let's discuss.

Fear of Missing Out

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is something fairly new for professionals.  

When I taught Anthropology at the University of Houston, my students and I would discuss the rapid increase in professional options.  Think about it logically: one hundred years ago, even just a few decades ago, professional options were limited to a few career paths.

Now there are hundreds if not thousands of directions you can go.  

Do you take a corporate job, work for a small business, become an entrepreneur, work at a start-up, travel to another country, or take a pay-cut to work for a non-profit organization?

The options can be paralyzing.

Researchers at Texas A&M found:

"FOMO is an emotion -- driven by thoughts -- that can create the fear and anxiety which leads to a mental health diagnosis. It's a symptom of a larger problem at hand."

The article focusses on digital behavior, yet I saw it with my students constantly.  They were worried they would miss out on something amazing if they dedicated to one specific career.

What does this have to do with an MBA, the answer is simple: clarity.

Clarity

An MBA is a unique dichotomy because you do have a large amount of FOMO.  I would worry about missing a networking event, or not taking a class that could lead to X profession, or what if I missed the career fair!

Those are all fears that MBA students face, yet something interesting happened during my MBA along with many of my friends.  

We started to chip away at what we didn't like.  

I realized I don't like large events, I was not interested in a corporate job, and I actually didn't want to work for a specific company.

I found out I enjoy marketing, start-ups, writing, non-profit work, and passion-driven causes.  

I graduated in May and:

All of my fears melted away and my MBA left me with clarity along with technical skills and a large network.

The same could be said for many of my friends that started with anxiety and within 18-22 months found a job they love.  Our MBA's provided the clarity we needed to dismiss our FOMO.

Mindset 

There is one more item I want to explain and it refers to mindset.  Before my MBA I had a small mindset of what was possible to do in a lifetime.  Prior to my program, I enjoyed teaching and working for a non-profit organization, yet I was not really pushing myself daily.

During my MBA at Bauer College of Business, the faculty and staff encouraged me to go way beyond my comfort zone and still reach out to make sure I am moving forward.

Now it is possible to imagine an adventurous life.  In 2017 I am already planning a virtual reality marketing campaign with a client, taking Your MBA Purpose to new levels, and much more.

These are ideas I could have never imagined without an MBA.  

Now I am certain they will happen because of my support system.

I owe everything to my faith, family, and education.  Before my MBA, the first two were already present in my life, now I feel like a large group is pushing me to succeed.  Bauer's faculty and staff gave me the necessary tools and still check on me weekly.

Summary 

If you think of value in just terms of money, then yes an MBA has a high ROI, just look at any data on the topic.  

Yet, if you view life as more than money, an MBA has amazing value since you will find clarity to your life and increase your mindset of what is possible.

Matt Avery