Is it worth it to do an MBA degree?

As a student pursuing graduation or a professional stuck in your mundane job, you must have heard a lot about how MBA is a lucrative field and has immense scope. You must also be 'thinking' of doing an MBA. Many students opt to pursue management programs post their graduation as it enhances their career opportunities, salary packages and job promotions. But, is the picture as rosy as it appears from far? In this article, we aim to clear the myths related to MBA and to help you make an informed decision if you want to pursue an MBA Degree.
Overview of MBA Degree
MBA is one of the most popular degrees in India. The top colleges for MBA in India are Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs A, B, C, L, I, K) along with other institutes like S.P.Jain, MDI, JBIMS, XLRI, etc. MNCs in India have been spoilt for choice, and they offer managerial designations and hefty pay packages. The average salary offered at the top 10 B-schools last year for Indian postings was Rs. 12-15 Lacs per annum. There are a number of entrance exams that an MBA aspirant should know about and in due course appear for. The most popular among these is CAT, followed by XAT, SNAP, NMAT, etc.
An MBA program introduces students to the various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, etc. Most of the core MBA courses teach general management in the first year, and the students can select the specialisation in the second year, though many institutes also offer specialised courses like MBA HR or MBA IB along with General MBA programs.
There are some subjects like Marketing Management, Statistics, Economics, Organizational Behavior, Law,etc. that are taught to MBA students, that too through real-life situations 'or case studies. MBA is a pretty rigorous program. Say goodbye to 10 hours of sleep, and say hello to all-nighters where you have to slog to meet deadlines. It is also an investment as the average cost of a two-year residential program in a premier institute will be 12-15 Lacs. Therefore, ROI becomes an important consideration before joining an MBA Program.
Let's look at both sides of the MBA debate through the following points:
When is it worth it?
The benefits of pursuing MBA are manifold, such as:
  • It provides you core knowledge of the field of business and helps in developing skills relevant to business.
  • An MBA is an opportunity multiplier. It opens so many avenues for you and expands your pool of opportunities.
  • The network one gains during the management degree is irreplaceable. Alumni, Classmates, juniors, Faculty all become a part of your network.
  • An MBA degree from a top institute adds credibility and prestige to your profile.
  • It provides a platform through which you can interact with like-minded people from different walks of life and also showcase your skills.
  • An MBA is essentially relevant for working professionals making a career change, or who are on a career path that requires an MBA to be promoted.
When is it not worth it?
It is essential to know when MBA is not worth it; the following points will clarify this:
  • When you aren't sure what you want from the experience
  • When you want to do an MBA just for the sake of doing an MBA, just because your best friend, elder brother or third cousin did it
  • When you start looking at B- schools as job placement agencies (they provide much more than just placements).
  • When you settle for a mediocre B-School with mediocre classmates
  • When the premium you are paying for the B-School brand doesn't justify the value you get from it
  • When you target institutes that have little or no credibility.
  • If your aim is to be an Entrepreneur and you have a mature business idea with you, then the opportunity cost is too high, you can launch your startup instead of spending two crucial years in doing MBA.
The bottom line
Well, the bottom line depends on you, your goals, aims, skills and basically what you want from life. An MBA degree is useful if it's from a top B-School and you have beaten competition in entrance exams to get in it. Also, it's a good option if, you have the basic aptitude and personality to become a manager. MBA requires investment in terms of money, time and effort. If you can get a good ROI on this investment, then go for it. However, an MBA from a weaker school would be far less valuable. The education might be very similar, but you can also get this education other ways. The prestige/credibility and the alumni network at a lower ranked school would be much less.