Getting an MBA: It’s hard times and costly; is it worth the efforts?

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Is it worth getting an MBA? I graduated with a British MBA in international business (distinction = top marks), and I know what it takes to complete a challenging MBA and how such a degree can assist in future careers.

And MBA is an executive program; primarily aimed for people in C-level roles, or, for candidates who aspire to enter such roles. The program combines leadership, teamwork, presentation skills, negotiation skills, consultative strategies, finance, accounting, operations management, human resource management and personal development.

An MBA is completed in 1 year in the UK, full-time or 2-3 years, part-time.

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. It’s a tough program, with full-time studies, 9-5 in-class, on top of daily homework, and individual assignments, and there is a requirement to actively take part in school events and group work.

Candidates who complete an MBA are highly ambitious career hunters who seek interpersonal development, and, to understand different functions of a business and how to solve various organizational needs and problems leading to growth and competitive advantage.

The interdependence between departments and functions in business becomes much clearer with an MBA, and insights are enhanced of how decisions are made that ensure the vision, the mission, and shareholder returns.

Accordingly, you would study an MBA because you aim at getting a strong business acumen and a holistic business foundation that is useful for future leadership roles, and, when starting and growing a business.

Job ads that ask for MBA candidates often seek senior candidates with +10 years of job experience in a specific field. If you think an MBA can give you a leading position or a dream job at a young age, you may want to rethink. Don’t study an MBA because you seek an unplanned ‘boost’ in your career, unless you are enrolled in a world-wide top school with strong corporate connections.

Prepare a specific career plan before enrolling on an MBA program and talk to corporations and decision makers who may offer interesting future projects. Get them to know about your career ambition, and listen carefully to their business needs and future projects. Where do you fit in? What do you need in order to get there concerning skills and knowledge?

Besides personal drive, intelligence, and a problem-solving aptitude, there are key requirements that must be met before being accepted on an MBA program according to my own experience.

Some MBA programs require IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher, and high GMAT scores. You also need at least 2-3 references; at least 1 should be from the academy and at least 1 from the industry. In addition, you need to get your university transcripts certified and you should write a personal letter stating the reason for joining the MBA program and how you can add value to classroom discussions and group work assignments.

You must secure required finances through bank loans, personal savings, a scholarship or grants. Some schools may offer scholarships, and these schools are normally the most difficult to join as they receive thousands of applications every year.

After graduation, you are suitable for roles such as manager, consultant, university college teacher, corporate trainer, project manager, analyst, or to start your own business.

MBA programs offer a lorry of tools, skills and knowledge which are applicable in a variety of industries and projects. There is no shortage of skills on an MBA program, and you have to decide the area of expertise through your dissertation, which counts for 30% or more of total program credits (my experience).

Positive aspects of completing an MBA include that you learn how to solve business needs and problems effectively, and how to present solutions convincingly for C-level decision makers.

Other positive aspects of an MBA program are that you learn how to make the right decisions on short notice, and you learn what data to use for optimized results. You understand how to create competitive advantage in a business and what is required to attract and keep satisfied stakeholders.

The drawbacks of completing an MBA are as follows; it’s a costly program. You may end up paying 50,000-100,000 USD including tuition fees, and living expenses. The same money could be invested in funds on the stock market yielding 8-15% returns year-on-year and you would be better of financially. You could also buy a small house or an apartment in southern Europe in a small town and secure future accommodation when retiring. Why not using the money to start a business and grow your assets?

Personally, I believe investing in your own personal development by acquiring knowledge and skills is the most important asset you have in today’s knowledge economy.  It’s never a bad idea to invest in knowledge, as knowledge brings opportunities and create an edge over competition in the long run.

Another drawback could be that recruiters may think you are overqualified, and when applying for more senior roles, you may suddenly be underqualified, lacking specific skills and seniority. You could fall between 2 chairs which can be very frustrating.

What is your experience of completing an MBA and how useful is it in your career? Let us know your thoughts by posting your comments here,

Further readings

7 ways an MBA will advance your IT career – and 5 ways it won’t

Was it worth it?

10 very good reasons to do an MBA degree

Published 05 Feb 2020 by:

Anthony Eric (Antonios Papadimitriou)

MBA International Business

University Lecturer, Corporate Trainer & Author

Twitter: @maeeducation


An education blog is not only about writing articles related to the field of education. It’s about educating readers on topics and issues that matters. It’s about sharing experiences as an expat living in China. It’s about increasing morale standards and making the world a better place to be.

At present, I’m lecturing at a prominent university college in China and I’m running corporate business training courses. I passed fortunes and hurdles last 19 years, and I learned one thing and another about conducting businesses, solving engineering and business needs, and how to deal with people from all walks of life and of different nationalities.


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