Over the last ten years or so, the Masters of Business Administration, or the MBA, has become much more common within the academic and business worlds. However, as the number of MBA degree holders increase, the quality and number of positions made available to newly minted MBAs have decreased. As the cost of obtaining a MBA continues to skyrocket, as have the costs associated with obtaining any college degree, the tangible rewards to the degree holder have declined substantially. Many MBA degree holders are now in a position in which they’ve taken out substantial student loans in order to fund the degree, only to realize once they reach the workforce that they will have difficulty repaying the loans.
It wasn’t always this way. Not so very long ago, MBA degrees were primarily sought after those wishing to make a career in academic field of business education. In other words, the MBA was a stepping-stone to a PhD program in the business education community. If MBA students weren’t interested in pursuing their PhD, many were already in high positions within corporate. They were ambitious and planned to use their MBA in an effort to stand out among other executive-level candidates.
Today, it is a much different story. Top undergraduate students at major universities are encouraged to obtain their MBA as soon as possible. In some cases, universities have even eased the work requirement for admission in an effort to boost admissions into run-of-the-mill programs. This weakens the effectiveness of the program and creates a large number of MBA candidates. The newly minted MBA may have all of the prestige that comes with that degree, but chances are the candidate does not have the requisite experience to succeed in many positions open to MBAs.
Companies realize the issue, and as a result, MBAs are finding themselves not commanding the type of salary that they originally dreamed of when they first enrolled in the MBA program. In many cases, they may have educated themselves out of the job market altogether. They may find that there aren’t many MBA-level positions available in the areas in which they wish to live. At the same time, they are over-qualified for most positions. This predicament couldn’t come at a worse time. Financial pressure mounts and loans are due. He or she may be forced to take a position out of state and far away from loved ones, reeking havoc with personal lives.
At one time, several large corporations offered programs assisting employees with their attainment of his or her MBA degree. In most cases, employees signed contracts promising to work for the company for a certain length of time once the MBA was completed. Some employee students found themselves in a position in which they were unable to leave unsatisfying jobs due to their employment agreement. They sacrificed happiness for an educational opportunity that may or may not lead to better employment prospects down the road. As the market is now flooded with MBAs, an opportunity for a better position may not come for quite some time.
If you are considering obtaining your MBA, take a good long look as to why you wish you further your education. The financial rewards are not as great as they once were. Often, you are better off obtaining additional job training, a specialization, or a second bachelors degree.