Is MBA Overrated?

Posted on January 10, 2011 in Education

By Pallavi Malhotra:

It has been a trend for quite some time now to accompany engineering with an MBA degree. Maybe it’s because of certain graduates who serve as examples, or just because it is now in the mindsets of people, a large number of people opt for this combo as it is considered‘lucrative’. It is true, but to an extent and is situational.

Students these days aspire to go to top B-school business programs, like at the IIMs or Wharton Business School. Network of friends made at such places is often fabulous. One gets to know people from different walks of life, people they never thought they would talk to, and discover that these people are unbelievably amazing – and a professional support system for life. Also, 2 more years of college is definitely a tempting deal, that too when you’ll be getting a much bigger pay package after those years. However, this one is a half truth.

Against the popular belief, the pay packages that are revealed to us are not exactly accurate. For instance, the $115,000 median income from the 2008 Wharton career report is the average of the 600 respondents, not of the total 778 graduates. Some people, for several different reasons, don’t respond to the survey and so the data provided to us in not completely right.

Also, people usually go for an MBA degree after having some job experience. They expect to receive a higher salary after completing MBA; however, this usually takes a toll on them. By the time they complete their MBA and go back in field to look for a job, they have a huge loan on their head. “Had I continued at my previous job pre-MBA, I would be earning roughly the same salary that I’m getting right now, and that too, without an education loan to repay,” says Varun Shourie, a techie from Bangalore who graduated from the Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA) a year ago.

Another factor to consider is the year in which a person graduates. Vineet, an IIM-B graduate from the class of 2009 said, “Research in the UK shows that the NPV (net present value) of the entire earnings of a candidate throughout his life is directly proportional to the state of the economy in the year that he graduates,” reported the TOI.

If things are bad during crisis-situation in Inida, they are worse in the West. Chennai girl Kavitha Venkatraman, who passed out from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School in 2009, went a year without a job, going from one internship to the next till she finally landed the job of her choice. “Not everyone had the luxury to wait it out till they got a job they liked. Many compromised on the kind of work they wanted to do, and landed up switching jobs within a year of graduation, rare in a good year,” she said.

MBA is definitely something to consider, though one must keep in mind not only the accompanying positives, but also the occasional negatives. Do read our post on “Is MBA really important to be successful?