While study for an M.B.A. degree has widely been considered a wise choice that can help professionals move into management level positions, it’s important to consider the disadvantages of pursuing an MBA before investing in such a degree. An M.B.A. degree is not the best course of study for everyone, and it’s important to consider the characteristics of study for an M.B.A. degree in the context of your unique professional situation.
Common criticisms of M.B.A. programs
There are quite a few downsides to working towards an M.B.A. Pursuing any type of academic degree inevitably requires investments of time, hard work, and money. Be aware of the following disadvantages of M.B.A. study when you’re deciding what your next professional move should be:
- Costs of study- Studying for an M.B.A. can be expensive. Estimates for the average cost of completing an M.B.A. program hover around $100,000, and those who study full time and have no income coming in while studying should plan to possibly have accumulated even more than $100,000 once they’ve graduated.
- Limited skill development- Students studying for an M.B.A. typically work on a specific skill set while they’ve pursuing their degree. Some authorities in the business world have argued that M.B.A. study makes an individual more likely to resort to old techniques and solutions that other companies have used in the past to overcome problems rather than inventing their own solutions that perhaps are better suited to the unique situation of their company.
- Lack of specialization- Those who decide to study for an M.B.A. forgo the opportunity to acquire more specialized skills. Sometimes, a management position is best filled by someone with training in a specific industry rather than by someone with very theoretical training in management techniques.
- Uncertain return on investment- Because of the high costs of M.B.A. study, the return on investment of an M.B.A. degree is uncertain. Although individuals will probably be able to advance in their career with an M.B.A., it’s important to make some predictive calculations to estimate whether the advantages you will enjoy will exceed the costs.
When to opt for a different degree
Any professional situation where specialization is important precludes the marketability of an M.B.A. as a recommendable course of advanced study in a field. If you want your graduate studies to provide you with practical and applied skills, an M.B.A. program is probably not right for you. Those who work in technology-focused fields where abilities and competencies relevant to a specific industry are highly valued should definitely opt for a more focused course of study. While M.B.A. programs can sometimes be customized to focus on certain specializations such as accounting or economics, they do not typically include options for specialization in technical fields like science or engineering.
Anyone considering an M.B.A. should conduct careful research into how an M.B.A. is perceived in their particular industry. Remember that the disadvantages of pursuing an MBA might make study in this type of program unlikely to further your professional interests.