MBA - A year on...


In reading the Economist online I found a really interesting article asking a student from Kellog Business School whether they thought their MBA was indeed worth it a year after they graduated. (Here’s a link for anyone who is keen… Anyhow, I’ve got to say that I’m slightly disappointed by the points of view raised by the individual in this report. They seem to conclude that basically they do not regret the decision to complete an MBA but I find this quite difficult to reconcile with the fact that they have now been out of the job market for two years. This seems to be based on some optimism that when the economy improves they will be coveted but I’m quite worried that if you complete a Masters at this stage but don’t manage to get a suitable job shortly afterwards, surely your value to employers reduces for every month of unemployment. Of course there is the option of taking a different job may not be related to the Master but can’t help but feel that this kind of activity defeats the object and it is really sensible to wait until there is a strong, clear opportunity for gaining a job before committing to a Masters? Am I being overly cautious or does anyone else share my point of view on this?


Hi Stella!

I’m coming up to the end of my MBA now, and after having spent the last 3-4 months applying to graduate schemes I have to say mine was definitely worth it in terms of opening doors. I don’t necessarily feel that the MBA was that useful in terms of the knowledge I gained as I’m almost sure you can gain the same level of expertise through real life experience, however some of the programmes I have applied to, I would not have even been considered before this. Perhaps I am premature in saying this as I don’t actually have an employment yet, only interviews and I’m sure my view will change should I not be successful in any of them, however prior to this degree I felt that I was going from one prospect-less job to another.

As for your question on whether you should wait for the ideal opportunity, I agree that you should always look and have your eyes open for that perfect job, however employers really don’t like gaps on a CV and your ideal job might not be there for you if you have more than a few months gap on your CV. I think it’s worth getting any job even if unrelated and keep looking for the ideal job. Once it comes, use the experiences and transferable skills from the unrelated one and steer them to the ideal job if that makes sense!


I think that if we are not careful there can be a line of thinking that suggests that by gaining an MBA the doors to a business career of some substance are open. Well I can tell you from my experience related to past students who I have taught (and no reflection on me I trust) there is no easy path to employment.
MBA’s will normally place you into a certain category and will also place you into a particular career path. When MBS’a first became the flavour of the month the jobs available were more than the postgraduates but we then went through the period when an MBA was more a Master of B***er All as opposed to a Master of Administration. We now have a thinning out of the degrees on offer and the quality is by and large of a very good level.
There is however a residual feeling with many employers that the MBA is still nothing more than “an addition to a CV” and thus the doors remain closed.
Those who are taking a sponsored degree are of course in the best position as they will either be employed or have employment to look forward to. The residue are now in a fiercely competitive market and that means that it is more than an MBA that will open doors for you. It may add to your CV but is not guarantee and in some cases will be a hindrance as some employers will see you as not being as maleable as those who just have a undergraduate degree. There is no right or wrong, just a lottery.


I get the impression from my own experiences that an MBA shows that a student has an ability to study at a certain level and it can do no harm when it comes to gaining employment but it is not some golden ticket to the job of your dreams. Depending on the approach taken through the MBA I think students have a real opportunity to show that they have something else to offer to employers and have the dedication to finish a long and difficult course. However if a student is studying an MBA purely because they can’t think of anything better to do and they think that this will automatically allow them to step into a dream job immediately then they will be sorely mistaken. I say do it if you really want to but don’t do it if you aren’t genuinely passionate about your area of study and don’t have a good reason for actually studying that course and covering those areas of study. If you’re passionate about it then do it!


I would agree with on part with NIa’s post. It is certainly no guarantee of a job and that statement holds fast against a background of the current unemployment figures. There are still those who feel that by obtaining a degree they must have divine right to a job but that is not so. Employers have the right to exercise their veto in respect of who they employ, and a lot of them are no longer willing to pay graduates for the learning curve that will add to their costs. Some will take the view that they would rather take a student with good A levels and support them through the professional exams whilst at the same time getting a return on them.
As an example let’s look at Chartered against Certified accountants. The certified can leave school, work and study without university, and be qualified and still perform the same tasks as chartered. The chartered must have a degree, a training contract, stipulations within the contract which will cost money, and must have a defined study path. Why would an employer wish to be certified as a training partnership with all the costs involved when he need not?
As for studying a degree in order feel fulfilled I can see the point in the statement but I have reservations. Being fulfilled academically is one thing, but being able to apply that and ensure that it will bear financial rewards is another. There will always be those employers who will look at the graduate who appears to be studious and determine that the character of such a person is not for him. Study - yes - but remain aware of the pitfalls.