Was Harvard ultimately worth it? Mihalic says he has no remorse at having gotten an MBA from Harvard, regardless of the cost. “Harvard,” he says emphatically, “was a great and awesome experience.” Or as he put it on his blog, ” HBS will forever hold a special place in my heart. There aren’t enough gigabytes on this blog to list all the reasons to attend HBS.”
His conclusion is obvious, yet filled with truth. “A lot of people in this country–regardless of socioeconomic status–have an unhealthy obsession with things and experiences and statuses. We shop brands; we drop names. We try to keep up with the Joneses. We comfortably tolerate an unhealthy level of debt.”
WHEN HE FINALLY PAID OFF HIS DEBT ON MARCH 29TH, HE WAS FLAT BROKE
That was something Mihalic couldn’t quite tolerate. One of his loans–for $26,101–was at an interest rate of 7.9%. Another couple of loans–for a total of $43,068–carried an interest rate of 6.8% (see table above). So he was extra anxious to ditch the debt. Each day during his challenge, Mihalic would pore over a spreadsheet that tracked his progress. The negatives, when he went over his budget, were marked in red, and the positives were in green. On March 29th, after much discipline and patience, he made his final payment on the debt, three months ahead of his ten-month deadline. Mihalic says he then had to ask his roommates for their rent a few days early so he could meet his mortgage payment for the month on time.
“I felt good,” he recalls, after sending in his last check. “I knew that the reward would be worth it. I got misty-eyed looking at the progress I made and all the work that went into it. My heart was beating so hard and I was still in shock that I had done it. On that day I made that payment, I had nothing. But every day I go to work now I’m actually increasing my wealth instead of reducing my debt.”