Growing up, my parents always had it in their plans for me to have a post graduate degree right after my first degree. However, I wasn’t having that; upon my graduation from the university, i chose to work; I wanted to be independent.
So in 2012 with zero experience and a resume that could only boast of a first degree, I interviewed for a job in my current company. I noticed that some of the folks I was up against already had their MBAs. It was quite intimidating, but it didn’t deter me. After the whole process, about 28 of us were recruited; and only 3 had their MBA.
What happened to the slew of graduates with early MBA I met on the day of the interview?
Before going further, let me say that I have nothing against having an MBA or MSc. As a matter of fact am currently pursuing one with the University of Edinburgh, even though am seriously considering putting it on hold. Basically an MBA is centred on giving you better career prospects through an enriched curriculum and the networks built along the way. It is structured in such a way that the experience will broaden your horizon by exposing you to the major aspects of business; like finance, marketing accounting, organisational behaviour just to mention a few. But I have been asking myself if it’s really worth the hassle so early in one’s career. According to an article on the wall street journal I read some time ago; “The return on investment of going to Harvard or another top-10 business school has remained relatively high, but the return on going to lesser schools is very questionable.”
So in attempting to answer that question I have done a cost benefit analysis.
Easy adjusting to the workload; because you are fresh from school, it will be a whole lot easier to adjust to the additional workload of pursuing an MBA; you probably don’t have a family and many other obligations.
Networks of professionals; during the period of your MBA you will meet and interact with like-minded people; in fact most curricula are structured around cases and group discussions. Diverse people from different backgrounds and professional careers enriches the experience.
Recruitment; an MBA could just be the extra that will make you more desirable in a pool of job seekers who only have their first degree especially if you graduated with classes of degree other than first class or second class upper division.
Financial implication; of course this is the most obvious. MBAs both locally and outside the shores of Nigeria are quite expensive these days. And to think that some of these courses could be found online for free. Platforms such as Coursera.org. and its likes provide professional courses on different fields of endeavour taught by world’s renowned professors. Truly the best things in life are free.
Time involved; the average program spans two years. Employers are now more than ever looking for younger graduates to the extent of publishing the ceiling age for prospective employees. The average age today for new intakes is somewhere around 25 years. Accepted that people get admitted into schools at quite early ages, but that early advantage could be cancelled out by incessant strikes especially for those in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
False hope; having an MBA does not guarantee getting work immediately, unless you finished from an ivy league school and research has shown that 97.2% of graduates got jobs three months after graduation. However, I know friends who have an MBA and they are still without a job.
MBAs are designed for people who have had some experience working or are in business. Some top schools only admit students with at least three to four years of work experience. Admittedly, these days there are fewer and fewer jobs than there than there are graduates, hence its only tempting for fresh graduates to want to have something that gives them an edge over others. However getting an MBA does not give you an advantage if you are sacrificing that for experience.
My take is; get the job, work on the skills necessary to succeed at it. Google can always be of help and most importantly keep learning.
Then after you have worked for some years you can evaluate your career and see if an MBA is what you really need to give you that extra push.