Given today’s climate—a booming job market, the “Great Resignation”—is an MBA is worth it?
The answer truly rests in how one views the degree. For reference, I entered my Fuqua MBA from Goldman Sachs but graduated without a job. I know… you’re thinking, “Wait, what?!” But this didn’t concern me much. The reason? I viewed the MBA as a degree that would provide me flexibility for the long term and equip me with resources that I could access at any point in the future, whether that future held a pandemic, a shift in workplace dynamics, or a fiery job market. The decision to pursue the degree should be based on that very long view, not on a desire for short-term salary bumps or the emotions that come from a stymied promotion.
Why an MBA is worth it
More than anything, adaptability is what the MBA is all about. This is a hard thing to quantify—there is no discount rate we can apply to “the ability to nimbly adapt to changing business conditions.” However, my experience leading and advising a variety of companies since my MBA has shown me the power of the career flexibility that an MBA confers.
We are witnessing right now a shift in the MBA student body, with more applicants than ever considering solo-preneur or freelancer paths after graduation, as opposed to the typical consulting, big corporate, or banking routes. This suggests that schools may have to adapt how they view the formal job recruitment process.
The MBA does still have plenty of ability to open doors to a specific job post-graduation, but those jobs, like all jobs, are subject to economic conditions. Considering the worth of an MBA more from the perspective of the resources, access, and knowledge that the degree provides, applicants can avoid being caught off guard by major systemic changes, like the COVID-related hiring challenges we saw over the past few application cycles.
Look at the MBA degree from a broader perspective. If you view the degree purely as a box you have to check before securing position XYZ at company ABC, then you aren’t ready to apply. The MBA is a broad degree, not a Masters in Consulting or Marketing or i-Banking. In finance, we always say “don’t time the market,” right? This applies to your decision to invest in the MBA too. Instead, recognize its value over the course of an unpredictable future, be it professional or personal.
John partners with his clients from a point of empathy, having spent much time as a pre-med student in hospitals and as a volunteer with a local ambulance. The embed we see reporting from the front lines with military teams is the analogous model John follows when guiding – with you, side-by-side through the entire journey, helping you craft, and make sense of, your own value and stories.