MBA or no MBA?

23 replies
Hi folks, I am sure a lot of you here are MBA graduates or are hiring other MBAs (or not for whatever reason). I would love to know your perspective on and reasons for getting (not getting) an MBA degree and also hiring (or not hiring) MBA grads.


It depends on what you want to achieve, where you work (geography + industry). MBA's are business schools cash cows. If you are thinking about doing an MBA look for a degree that has a strong link to industry/practice, case competitions etc and not just teaching. If you just want to learn new information, an online course (e.g., mooc) will do.
@katerinabohlec That makes a lot of sense. Although, like the completion rates of these MOOCs suggest - it's clearly tough to complete these without a structure and system in place. And that's something universities provide.
@yeshaswini If you do a MOOC that is relevant to you and timely (you need the skill in the short-term), you don't need the external structure and system universities provide. I have worked for business schools for 10 years and I think the one benefit from a MBA is connections to companies. That benefit you only get if the program staff are connected to industry and/or integrate companies or case competitions in the course offering. You can get the benefit of networking/increasing your personal connections from an online course. The challenge is that it is all up to you. You need to build your own structure/system.
@katerinabohlec Absolutely. No two ways in that. Thank you so much for sharing this from your experience!
Nick Hutton
Although a lot of job descriptions still say it's a positive, I'd lean towards no MBA. Better off using the money to start your own business!
Matthias Karg
+1 to what Katerina and Nick responded. Additionally I think it's important to acknowledge the network that you'll be part of if you pursue an MBA at one of the top schools. In terms of actual content I do think that you can learn these things without going to grad school. So I'd say if you go for an MBA than rather try getting into the top programs, otherwise your time and money might be spent better on something else 🙈
Michel Gagnon
An MBA might be a good choice is you want to work in a traditionally conservative industry, i.e. banking, consulting, big corporations. My view is that today, it's more about what you can do (and have done) than where and what you studied.
Murray Nema
I guess it depends on what you want to achieve at the end of your study. If you're looking for knowledge then short courses would do but if you're looking to lecture then YES get that MBA
Matt Romond
There's a fast-widening gap between top-tier programs and the rest. If you're at a top 25 school, the name recognition and network may be worth it. Otherwise, knowledge/skills are probably better gained in the field.
Jessica Erdman
I think it depends on your industry. I have an MBA, but arguably (post-COVID) it's valued less and less than real-life work experience, especially in the startup world. Most of my classmates went to work at banks or larger CPG companies, and the ones that went off to do things on our own haven't found the MBA to be a particular asset.
I guess it depends on what you want to achieve in life
Zoya Matin
NO MBA - joking if you find the answer to this, please let me know
Rakesh Goyal
a degree like MBA gives you 3 things (these become 10x if you do it from a reputed institute like Stanford): 1. Credibility: You get validation from society that you are likely smart. 2. Network: You expand your network and meet with amazing people. 3. Education: You ofcourse get a very structured material and format to learn. Today there are incredible alternatives to each of the above: 1. Credibility: If you didnt work with a company or a project that's successful, then this will require a lot of self motivation - You can self start a project that you passionate about - it could be writing, coding, making art - anything. But you need to consistently keep at it and over time you will emerge as a thought leader in that topic. 2. Network: This is a bit difficult to do on your own if you are an introvert. But meeting people has become much more easy and accessible today with so many apps facilitating just this for free. You need to be shameless and fake it until you get the hang of it. 3. Education: Books, online material, youtube videos teach you better than any structured course IMO. You can learn anything if you are really curious about the topic. Now depending on which of the 3 things you want to optimize for - you can pick and choose how to get it.
@rakeshgoyal Wow this is quite elaborate and very well put. Thank you so much. Although I have one question, freelancing feels like a saturated industry with so many players. anything that starts off as a level playing field will not remain as such in some time. So, when do you think is the right time to stop working on something when you don't see the results? In case of a secured job, you are set up for the entire month/ year because you know what's expected of you. But I feel, the though of being ones own bosses might work v well for a few but maybe not so much for others