The new author of ‘Hacking your Education’, Dale Stephens, thinks so. The 21-year-old has written a provocative book, published recently by the Wall Street Journal, which damns the MBA system.
Suggesting that even those who are accepted into the prestigious Harvard Business School should decline the offer, Stephens says that individuals should take the money that they’d need to fund an MBA (around $175k) and invest it in themselves. He proposes that individuals move to the part of the country – or the world – that supports their main interest. So for film Los Angeles would be the destination, for finance jobs London, for technology it would be San Francisco and for oil production it would be Houston. It’s possible to live in these places for around $3k a month and that would leave $100,000 for direct self-investment after two years.
But many have criticised his stance strongly. Firstly, the annual tuition fee for Harvard is just over $51k and it is largely discounted for the majority of students. The average fellowship support for each student last year was just under $30k. And the remainder of the funding required can be borrowed at low interest rates.
The fact seems to be that the MBA has become a target for cynics, in the same way that law degrees have. Publicity seekers do seem to love to have a bash at them. Yet for many, the MBA is a true source of advantage and a step-up to some of the best jobs in the country. Most MBA graduates from the better universities rapidly double or even triple their pay after completing their degree.
For example, at Notre Dame Mendoza in the States, the graduate MBA class of 2012 received an average salary that topped their previous pay by around 150pc. Other US universities offer comparable statistics, pointing out that these figures exclude bonuses and other sweeteners often offered as part of a hire package for MBAs.
At Harvard Business School, for example, 75pc of 2012 graduates received a signing-up bonus of $20k on average and others received other guarantees of compensation at a median figure of $25k. This certainly doesn’t seem a bad result for a qualification which some are deeming to be worthless.
For those in the UK considering an MBA, the fact still remains that you need to do your research, be committed and understand the financial implications and your ultimate goals to get the most from an MBA. But commit to it and get into the right college and you are very likely to achieve your ambitions.