Buying a purse, a pair of shoes you didn’t need, or saying yes to whipped cream on top of your already calorific pumpkin spice latte are normal impulse decisions. Going to grad school? Not so much. For me however, opting for a grad school degree in Analytics was an impulse decision, only because I had taken a thorough approach to ruling out the type of grad school degree I did not want. Namely, an MBA. This process of ruling out an MBA allowed me to hone in on what I did, and did not, want out of grad school.
My entire grad school application process spanned about 2 months. My decision to apply to only one school and immediately accept after getting in was not normal, and I’m not sure I condone it. I think you have to do what is right for you. If you’re interested in learning how, what, where, when why…feel free to reach out, but that is not what this post is about.
Instead, in this blog post I am going to address everyone who has ever asked me to justify my decision to opt out of the MBA, at least for now.
Why am I not getting a MBA?
I have 3 key reasons for not wanting and getting my MBA
- I don’t think I need it.
- I don’t think it will give me the skills I want.
- I don’t think it is worth the financial investment.
Do you need graduate school?
I suggest people who are thinking about grad school evaluate if they actually need a graduate program. This is probably helpful for both MBA and non-MBA Grad School seekers.
Here are some great articles to help you evaluate if you actually need grad school.
I turn to these articles and sources to offer you perspective, because I don’t feel qualified to tout my own ideas of who does and doesn’t need grad school. For me, it was clear after reading these articles, among others, that I did not need an MBA.
Will graduate school give you the skills you seek?
Here are some articles that I looked at when evaluating if an MBA would give me the skills I sought.
This last article is actually from a post-grad, and probably my favorite.
I do not believe and MBA gives business undergraduates an impressive set of skills that will make a 70k- 150k investment worth it. I understand many disagree with me. Even I’ll admit if you are a top 5 caliber MBA candidate, that Ivy-League degree may be well worth its salt.
If you want an MBA, you’re excited to get an MBA, and you can afford an MBA, I’m not discouraging it. Like Joshua Rothman states in his article for the New Yorker, “We make these decisions, I suspect, not because we’re rational, but because we’re curious. We want to know. This seems especially true about graduate school. It’s designed, after all, for curious people—for people who like knowing things. They are exactly the people most likely to be drawn in by that whispered ‘Come and find out.’ ”
I am not in a financial position to simply go and get an MBA because it would be a fantastic experience, which I am sure it would be. So due to my finances I am asking, will this expense be worth the skills I would get out of it?
An MBA program teaches you how to manage your time, present yourself well, and understand business concepts on a deeper level. None of these skills are things I seek. However, for an engineer, a biology undergrad, or a creative writing major, an MBA might be exactly along the line of skills they seek. Overall, I recommend you evaluate the skills you need, and identify the price you’re willing to pay to get them.
Is graduate school worth the financial investment?
I am not a fan of people who say education is always worth the cost. In a world of Google, YouTube, Khan Academy and several other free learning resources, I really do not feel thousands of dollars spent on an education you didn’t benefit monetarily from are worth it. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, but for the remainder of this post I am going to stick with the idea that sometimes an education is worth the investment, and sometimes it is not.
For example, do I need to pay 1,000 for an advanced excel course, or am I better off watching 4 hours worth of videos on YouTube? I’ll opt for YouTube thanks.
According to Adam Hayes’s article for Investopedia “If somebody cannot afford the cost, cannot get into a top program, or does not have the time to juggle work and study, there are fortunately other good options to pursue such as the CFA or a Master’s degree in Finance or Economics.” You can read the rest of his article here
This brings me to my final decision, I am not getting an MBA. For me the type of MBA I was qualified to pursue was just not worth it. Instead I am pursuing another good option, a Master of Science in Business Analytics. I’m not going to advocate for it here. It was a very personal, and very impulsive decision to pursue this degree, and has a lot to do with my undergraduate education in applied statistics, research interests, and the types of roles and companies I was exposed to after graduation.
Check out what Forbes has to say about the Big Data degrees here.