MBAs have come under fire a little bit in the past decade. The value of higher education in business is never truly questioned, but the cost of attending business school has gotten so high that people increasingly question whether or not it’s worth it. This is a valid question, and one that any prospective MBA student should ask. Depending on your financial situation, career goals, and perhaps even your current job, pursuing an MBA may or may not make sense for you.
There are, however, some perks to pursuing an MBA that are sometimes excluded in conversations about high cost and the value of the degree. For instance, consider the following:
You’re Still Taking Classes – It’s shocking how frequently this is left out of the conversation. LinkedIn did one of the more detailed write-ups out there regarding the potential value of an MBA. While the article was fairly balanced, you may notice that it focused almost entirely on the numbers such as school rankings, graduation rates, percentages of companies looking to hire MBAs, and so on. That’s to say nothing of the frequent talk of tuition and return on investment. But don’t forget, you’re not just sitting around for two years and then earning a diploma! You’re taking high level courses in the subjects you need to learn to thrive in business.
You’re Building Relationships – Sure, a connection might wind up coming in handy down the road. But while building relationships in an MBA program you’re also effectively exposing yourself to people like you, and you can always learn from them. You might see how someone else succeeds or fails in applying for a job, or you might gain a new perspective on your own ambition from talking to a classmate. These are experiences you just can’t always find in the “real world.”
You’re Defining Your Path – Even during the application process before business school, you’re beginning to define your professional path. The Menlo Coaching program online focuses on preparing students for MBA applications and a lot of the process is dedicated to helping them express their desires, ambitions, and qualifications. The platform makes it clear that a lot of what an MBA program is interested in is who students are and where they want to go. And in determining those things for yourself you’re constructively starting your career path in a way you may not be inspired to do without the structure of an MBA program.
In some situations the diploma itself may well be the most valuable thing to come out of an MBA. But those considering business school shouldn’t overlook the benefits above. However, those are still general benefits. There are also a few reasons to believe that women, specifically, might benefit from an MBA. Let’s consider a few of them:
Overcoming Male Culture – While women have inched ever closer to equal representation (and in some cases equal pay), most business culture is still male-dominated, and in some cases pretty drastically so. The same is often true of business schools, where the “work hard, play hard” mentality can lead to a fraternity-like atmosphere in which men try to out-alpha each other. A Forbes writer addressed this in a piece about why women should consider MBAs and said quite plainly that women in this environment can develop thicker skin. Essentially, you learn how to assert yourself among competitive and overrepresented men, which can only help in the world of business you’re hoping to enter.
Gaining Comfort With Risk – Another point made in the Forbes article is that business school teaches students to understand and embrace (or at least learn how to manage) risk. In short, it makes you bolder in your pursuit of success. And again, for women entering male-dominated business environments, this is all the more essential. The article even pointed out that a pathetically low number of MBA case studies deal with female protagonists, which could make you become even bolder as a student!
Opportunity Awaits – According to The Wall Street Journal, business schools are now reaching out to qualified female students in an effort to boost the numbers of women interested in MBA programs. The article was written with respect to U.S. schools specifically, but nonetheless it appears that the opportunity has never been greater for women who are interested. That doesn’t mean it’s not expensive or challenging, but it may mean that now’s a wonderful time for a young woman to consider an MBA.
The most important reasons to attend (or not attend) business school are still personal. Your own situation matters most. But considering these general and women-specific benefits, it’s at least worth considering the MBA – even with rising tuition costs.