Education is tricky, as today’s modern economy certainly has changed the value of a college degree in the work force. It seems that no matter where you look, a Bachelor’s degree doesn’t have the same weight it had 10 years ago, which then raises the question “Should I get an MBA?” or “Is getting an MBA as pointless as a Bachelor’s?”
There is always two sides to the coin, and this is partly the reason I am not going to give you a definite opinion on what you should do. But I will give you a glimpse into my thoughts on formal education in today’s global and changing economy.
Keep in mind that I never had an opportunity to go to school, yet still was able to not only achieve a high level of wealth by the age of 27, but I also was able to climb up the corporate ladder to a VP level in a Fortune 500 company by the age of 23. In my life, formal education never had an impact or any significance, but in the lives of many around me (both in my family and those who work for me in my two companies) it did. So here are my thoughts on pursuing higher levels of formal education.
Who is college and an MBA for?
Business and entrepreneurship are about experience and trial and error, which are things you will never learn in a classroom. You should go to college (no differently than getting an MBA) only when you understand the value it has for you.
For example, you work with a company that requires an MBA to advance and has always required one without exception. If your goal is to advance then perhaps your choice is very limited; you are therefore forced to pursue your MBA.
However, if you simply want to learn the concepts shared in an MBA program, then you can find more value on Google through self-education than you can spending $30,000 to acquire a worthless piece of paper.
There is no such thing as being worth more as a result of having an MBA. Those days are over and are not coming back. Most employers look at advanced education as a bonus, not as the deciding factor of being hired or not.
While some fields of education, especially in the sciences, require further education in order to get into the field, those degrees which are not science-based are all based on the idea that further advanced education will yield a higher level of pay or reward. However, that is no longer a guarantee or promise as the idea of formal education, its weight, and its importance on today’s global economy has diminished significantly.
How to make the most out of your education
While getting a piece of paper may not hold a lot of weight, there are many reasons why formal education still has value outside of the perceived rewards of completion. Here are two ways to ensure you can get the most out of your advanced education:
- Leverage Relationships at the School
No different than getting your bachelor degree, getting your MBA is just as much about networking as it is about education. Make sure to be aware of the networking opportunities at your school of choice, because often times, many professors and students that are there are already working or involved with many large corporations. In many cases they can hold positions which enables them to make hiring decisions. Understanding the typical students who attend and the background of the professors could give you an opening into a new world of opportunities.
- Leverage your job for financial support
Getting an MBA may be a necessity for advancement within your company; therefore, your MBA program could be fully paid by your employer. Make sure to check with your HR office if your company offers some sort of reimbursement or copay for your advanced studies. You will find that many companies do, and in many cases will pay for more than just tuition costs.
While making sure to leverage your MBA or its cost to the maximum potential, you also have to make sure you are not chasing your own tail by falling victim to higher education as a way to avoiding your exposure to failure.
Being successful in the real word is quite difficult, and I myself never had a chance to finish any education past high school. Yet, it did not keep me from becoming a banking VP before the age of 25, making my first million by age 27, and finally creating multiple 7 and 8-figure companies by age 30.
During my growth and journey, I encountered a dozen or so people who seemed to be afraid of the workforce, and therefore continued to push themselves into higher education programs in order to escape the reality of real work. They linked their success and their ability to enter the workforce at a higher level from the idea that a higher degree will allow them to bypass the entry level roles and instead go straight to the top. While they knew the chances of getting hired into a high level position without experience was slim, they still chose to pursue their MBA.
Don’t fall victim to this cycle that education will outweigh or outperform great experience on a resume.
So when deciding if you should get an MBA, understand that in the real world, having experience doesn’t always require an MBA to move to higher positions, but having your MBA still requires some experience.
While having an MBA holds some importance, it cannot outdo the incredible power of having a track record in the field of work and being able to showcase your ability to do the job you are applying for.
In conclusion, experience outweighs education, and awareness outweighs experience.