Reasons Why You Should and Should Not Get that MBA degree (That Has Nothing to Do With How Much it Costs)
Pursuing an advanced degree is neither a cheap nor easy affair. There are many costs involved, both direct and indirect, monetary and non-monetary.
Let’s get the costs out of the picture. There is no way to sugar-coat it – going back to school is expensive. The biggest chunk of the cost will (and should) go towards your tuition fees – the price to graduate from a reputable business school in Singapore will cost you between S$30,000 to S$100,000, depending on the facilities, faculty, and reputation of the school.
If you want to pursue your MBA degree full-time, then you have to factor in living costs as well – you won’t be working during the time. Even if you decide to study part-time while you work, a budget allocation for ‘convenience costs’ is needed – you will probably end up outsourcing many of your chores due to time constraints (eating out instead of eating in, using home cleaning services, things like that).
Should You Get That MBA?
If you have the means to cover the above expenses, we invite you to go deeper into the discussion: here’s 1 reason why you should and should not get that MBA degree (that has nothing to do with the costs).
You should get that MBA Degree if… you see a strong probability of financial gain and career advancement
Some people pursue their MBA degrees for the status symbol. Some people pursue their MBA degrees for self-satisfaction, as a bucket list of sorts. Some people just wanted to go back to school to continue their learning process.
We’re not saying these are bad reasons to pursue an MBA degree. But they definitely lack something important: a clear plan to strategically use those MBA degrees to gain financial gain and career advancement.
If you want to avoid wasting a few years and 5-6 figures in tuition fees, we urge you to find out whether pursuing that MBA degree will be a strategic move for you. How?
Well, in many career paths, experience and a proven track record is valued more than qualification. Therefore, regardless whether you are contemplating an MBA degree or not, you should prioritise the results of your work. Great work results (will usually) give you that promotion you wanted.
However, if you find that (1) you are doing great work, but not advancing vertically, (2) many people in your senior management team hold MBA qualifications, and (3) told that you need ‘a competitive edge’ over your peers – then pursuing an MBA degree can be considered a strategic move. This shows that you are serious about tackling the current (and upcoming) challenges faced by your company head-on, using applicable management techniques and practices.
To some extent, where you choose to pursue your MBA degree can also have an impact in your financial gain and career advancement. If the faculty members of a particular business school are known to be particularly proficient in the ins and outs of your industry, it might be a strategic move to study there – a good word from a respected industry expert can be worth 10 recommendations.
There are other strategic moves to make, depending on your unique situation. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it!
You should not get that MBA Degree if… you are not willing to be a competitive student
It can be argued that university was a rite of passage. All of your friends went to university – it was expected, a bare minimum in order to establish yourself as a professional worker in your field. University was fun, carefree (as much as it can be – we know the exams were tough), and most importantly, socially accepted as a time frame for you to ‘find yourself’.
Business school, on the other hand, is for excellence and pushing one’s career to the next level. There is no luxury to stay mediocre in business school. Your classmates will be competitive, smart, and experienced.
Here’s a simple example: in university, choosing a group leader within your group took ages – all of us played that ‘you do it, no YOU do it’ game. There will be no such thing in business school – everyone wants to be a group leader, everyone wants to present that topic in class.
Business school is a platform to develop and sharpen one’s soft skills – presentation skills, public speaking skills. The more you can display these skills with assertion and confidence, the better your reputation will be as a business professional.
You should get that MBA Degree if… you are currently ‘mentor-shopping’
Many successful people gave this as a valuable advice: find a great mentor who can help you through your professional life.
A great mentor is someone with a wealth of experience, who have ‘done it all’. A great mentor is also someone who is willing to set aside some of his/her time in order to groom and advice you.
Finding a great mentor is easier said than done. In many cases, people who have mentors end up in the situation by chance, while the rest of us have to look for suitable mentors ourselves. There are so many factors to be considered, including the mentor’s availability and compatibility.
Pursuing your MBA Degree can be helpful if you want to do some ‘mentor-shopping’ on the way. Your professors and classmates will have different specialities – tap their expertise.
For example, Classmate A is good at public speaking. Ask if Classmate A can mentor you to improve your public speaking skills. Classmate B, on the other hand, is good at providing concise analysis, while you tend to ramble on and on. You can ask Classmate B for tips for improvement.
You can have multiple mentors for different specialisation or skills. Many people will be flattered to be regarded as mentors, so don’t be shy to ask. After all, you are there to improve yourself.
You should not get that MBA Degree if… you can’t commit to networking opportunities
Arguably, networking opportunities are one of the biggest reason why professionals decide to go back to school.
If you are a woman pursuing an MBA degree, you might be excluded from some activities. This is because business schools tend to have more men than women – you might have to work extra hard to gain access to and attend networking opportunities. We don’t know about you, but we don’t hear a lot of women hanging out at the golf course, do you?
Need networking tips? Here are some tips to get you started!
We think that an MBA degree can be beneficial to one’s career in many ways. But at the end of the day, pursuing your MBA degree is a personal choice. Like many things in life, how you end up using your opportunities matter more than the opportunities itself. There are many opportunities to increase advance your career and increase your financial gain – an MBA degree is just one of those options.
She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen).
Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).
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