Obtaining an MBA degree is one of the most transformative experiences that a businessperson can undertake. Many articles are written that tout the value of this degree, with current MBA students and alums reflecting on the beneficial impact business school has had on both their professional and personal lives and all of the good reasons one should pursue an MBA. But is this degree for everyone?
I’d like to take a look at the other side of this equation and discuss some bad reasons for getting an MBA. Pursuing an MBA can be one of the toughest decisions a young professional has to make, so it is even more important to make it for the right reasons in order to avoid other potentially negative implications.
Consider the three aspects listed below as you decide whether you are at risk of pursuing an MBA for all of the wrong reasons:
Is the only reason you are applying to business school to make more money? Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money – this is a legitimate goal for all working professionals – but if that is your primary goal, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. This goal can be problematic because with business recruiting, there are no guarantees that you will actually make more money in the end. Often times, MBAs who solely focus on making more money target high paying industries such as management consulting and investment banking that may not necessarily fit with their true career development goals or personalities. Not reaching salary goals after business school is a common complaint from alums that pursue MBA degrees for non-holistic reasons.
MBA programs are looking for the best and the brightest young professionals, and many applicants are pursuing the MBA programs with the best reputations. Of course, there is nothing wrong with pursuing top-tier programs, but when interest is more about prestige and arrogance and less about fit, potential issues can arise. My advice here is to focus on the highest ranked programs that align best to your development needs and represent a numerical and cultural fit.
Are you just bored with your current job? This is a very common scenario for many applicants who see business school as a way out. MBA programs are looking for candidates who are running towards something, not away from something. If your interest in truly pursuing an MBA is not honest, no matter the program you attend you will continue to search for “what’s next.”
Utilize the tips above to help you decide if right now is the best time for you to apply to business school.
Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.