These past few weeks, business schools have been the subject of headlines that are, at least at first glance, damning.
For the student population that we serve, headlines like these can be alarming, and can trigger uncertainty about their current or future career decisions.
However, before you let that uncertainty take over, remember to look beyond the dramatic headlines and weigh the merits of the argument being made.
In making their case against business school, articles like the ones above weave in some variety of these three basic warnings.
The prestige of an MBA degree has weakened because more and more people hold the degree today.
– The benefits of an MBA degree are not worth the steep financial costs.
– An MBA does not guarantee a job after graduation, and the time away from the working world might actually hurt your chances. (See our post on the opportunity costs of an MBA)
In many ways, these are valid concerns, especially given the state of today’s slowly recovering economy. However, such concerns are not the condemnations that the headlines suggest.
When laying out these concerns, most writers include a crucial caveat that undermines their damning headline.
Top MBA schools, they say, are mostly exempt from the loss of prestige and do much more for employment possibilities than schools with a lower ranking.
Just as they have been for years, the world’s top MBA schools are a mark of exceptional talent and skill, and I do not foresee that changing any time soon.
I also have a caveat to add to the argument that MBA programs can bring little advantage at high cost.
This can be true, if a student does not thoughtfully consider their decision and does not choose the school that best suits their needs.
However, if a student carefully considers their business and personal ambitions, determines how an MBA degree would further those goals, and selects schools and programs with those goals in mind, they can go into an MBA program confident in the merit of their decision.
There is a reason we talk about personal branding a lot here at Expartus- pursuing a top business school must be your decision and must be based on your unique goals and attributes.
Anything less is selling yourself short, and setting yourself up for the concerns lurking behind the headlines.