LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t Overlook the Value of an MBA

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently put out a study showing the ROI on a college degree. The results were not so favorable.

As a counter-point, one of our loyal readers offers some reasons why you shouldn’t overlook the value of a Masters of Business Administration:

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The decision to pursue an MBA can be a difficult one. The top schools can be very costly and selective in their admissions while less expensive or prestigious universities may not yield the same job prospects. Aside from that, students fresh from a bachelor’s program may be loathe to continue with their education until they have some experience under their belts (since a lack thereof will likely delimit them to an entry-level position regardless of their management potential). On the other hand, those who have the experience but need a degree to advance might balk at leaving a lucrative position in order to pursue a degree, considering their eventual return to an unstable market. However, there are plenty of advantages to be gained from earning a Master’s of Business Administration, for both recent graduates and industry veterans looking for a leg up.

To start, an MBA is an extremely flexible degree. While it is often required for management positions and it certainly prepares the person earning it to organize and oversee a group, it can definitely be utilized in a number of other ways since it declares you confident in several areas of business management. Most general programs consist of the same basic elements: accounting, economics, organizational management, and marketing, although they may also include courses in law, ethics, business analysis, human resources, and information management (just to name a few). From there you can also elect to enrich your education with classes that focus on strategy, leadership, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, or any number of other topics, and that’s before you even choose an area of specialization. But the best part about earning and MBA is the fact that it is useful in absolutely every industry, from manufacturing cars to food service to creating films and television programs.

For the student seeking to buttress their bachelor’s degree, an MBA can be a real boon. Even though it probably won’t net you a management position right off the bat, it can give you a foot in the door as prospective employers will see a greater asset in you than in someone who has no basis for managerial promotion. It can also secure you a higher starting salary and give you leverage down the road when it comes time to climb the corporate ladder. Further, recruiters who hire MBA candidates for positions have shown an overwhelming tendency to continue with the trend, meaning that having an MBA in today’s job market could significantly improve your odds of finding work, especially if your competition lacks such a degree.

As for those of you who have paid your dues and are ready for promotion, an MBA can launch your career to the next level. It is an excellent point for negotiation of both position and salary. And you don’t necessarily have to quit your job in order to attain it. Many companies offer educational assistance to employees engaged in schooling that is directly related to their occupation. Although it will take you longer to receive your degree if you are working full- or part-time during the course of your studies, your determination will pay off when you are able to progress in your career and demand a higher salary.

Carol Montrose is a writer for Online MBA where you can browse the top online MBA rankings.

** Letters to the Editor are the opinions of the writer, not Wall St. Cheat Sheet. We aim to offer a diverse perspective of your opinions in this column.