Last Thursday the Bay Area’s Contra Costa Times ran an article titled “Value of an MBA Put to the Test,” focusing on the evolving return-on-investment equation for prospective business school students. In the article, reporter David Morrill turned to Veritas Prep for advice to give to people who may be considering business school in this economic climate.
The interview gave us the chance to reiterate some of what we always tell our applicants about how important fit is when selecting an MBA program. Taken from the article:
Scott Shrum, director of MBA admissions research at Veritas Prep, advises and prepares students for the process. He says that if a student goes into a graduate school without a plan and the right mindset, they could have a rude awakening.
“If you measure the value of an MBA as a ticket to a six-figure job, then a lot of those people might be disappointed when they graduate,” Shrum said. “It’s those that realize an MBA is a transformative experience and much more than the paycheck who is going to reap the benefits.”
The article also explored the importance of investing in one’s own education, especially when the job market is extra competitive for job applicants:
“In good times it matters less because there are more are more jobs to be had,” Shrum said. “But in a down economy you need to be much choosier, because now companies tend to retreat to the schools they are familiar with and give them good talent.”
However, the lesser-known schools shouldn’t be entirely thrown aside in consideration. Some offer more flexible hours, online options, and niche affiliations such as the hotel and recreation industry.
Also, if a person doesn’t really want to work for a big firm, and is a self-starter that just needs to learn how to read an income statement and pick up the business basics to be an entrepreneur, then there’s no reason to spend a bunch of money on a branded school, Shrum said.
There’s no one-size-fits-all MBA program, and there’s rarely a single answer when someone asks, “What’s the right MBA program for me?” There are a lot of variables to consider (certainly more than just the rankings), and you owe it to yourself to consider all of them before you make one of the biggest decisions of your young professional career.