Several people have recommended that I not earn a Master in Business Administration (MBA) because it "is overrated". Why do people say this? Is it true? Can you please explain to me?

If your answer is yes, can you suggest another masters degree option?

  • Any qualifications, including a degree or a masters is what you make of it. – user9822 Feb 17 '15 at 21:33
  • 2
    Well, someone did quip that the entire MBA curriculum could be summarized in eleven words: "Some is better than none and more is better than less." Be that as it may, far too many businesses fail to fit the MBA curriculum mindset which is that one basic set of principles and solutions are applicable everywhere and solve all problems. So, doing an Executive MBA degree (part-time study, designed for people who are already working at a job and know some of the issues facing them) is often a better option than going into an MBA program cold with no (or little) prior work experience, – Dilip Sarwate Feb 17 '15 at 22:10
  • 2
    I'm not sure anyone here is going to be qualified to explain the rationale behind opinions of people we don't even know. – JohnFx Feb 17 '15 at 22:25
  • I've always found it interesting that MBA is one of the courses of study my employer will explicitly NOT offer tuition support for. Make of that what you will. – keshlam Feb 17 '15 at 23:40
  • It willn't make you smarter but make you more aware of a whole new set of jargons. It will increase your marketability, if you get it from a good college initially. But afterwards, maybe 5 years, it willn't make much of a difference as your work experience will become more important. – DumbCoder Feb 18 '15 at 10:19

For some situations, an MBA can be overrated in the sense that given the cost of time and money, it isn't going to be a great return in some cases. There can be tens of thousands of dollars and a couple of years to get an MBA that some people believes should automatically make them worth $x more in their salary and life should be simple.

I'd likely inquire as to what expectations do you have for what an MBA will do for you. Are you expecting to make connections in getting the degree? Are you expecting to learn about how to run a business from the coursework? Are you expecting something else? Depending on what you are expecting, I could see MBA as being anything from a great choice to a lousy choice for people.

As noted by Pete Belford's comment, an MBA from a "degree mill" would be all but worthless. Where you go can reflect the value of the education as some universities are known for their program about this such as Ivy League schools.

  • 1
    Great answer, but I would also like to point out that an MBA from a "degree mill" is all but worthless. Where you go can reflect on the value of the education. – Pete B. Feb 17 '15 at 19:13
  • even a MBA from an elite University is considered a lesser qualification by their MSC and PHD peers – Pepone Feb 17 '15 at 21:40

The quality of the MBA is really what decides if it's worth it. You have to make sure the school where you are going to is highly regarded or even prestigious. There is a big difference between what you find prestigious and others find prestigious. The student believing it is an awesome school is not enough, the companies and recruiters must believe it too.

Make sure you do your homework on the ranking of the MBA program. Additionally, your undergraduate plays a role how well your MBA is perceived. A decent undergraduate degree complemented with an MBA from a highly ranked school will put you in a trajectory for a high salary and a management position.


It depends on what you want it for

If it is just salary then maybe not, for instance, some MBA programs may suggest their graduates make $100,000 per year, but you work in an oil field barely finishing high school and make $300,000 a year.

If you go for the MBA right now, you may miss your chance to work in the oil industry for another few years (or weeks), but at the same time, the MBA lasts forever (although, real world experience is also relevant) and it may give you a leg up when you are 50 years old in the unemployment line (or maybe not, because you are overqualified)

everything in life is a cost/benefit analysis

Passing the GRE lasts for five years, so keep that in mind

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.