The value of an MBA
If you’ve even slightly considered pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, then you’ve undoubtedly contemplated the time, money and energy that will go into completing such an accomplishment. Though having a degree of this nature may seem impressive, you have to keep one thing in mind: you will be joining millions of other people from all over the world who are not only striving for the same goal, but who you could essentially be competing with when it comes time to joining the work force and securing a job in the business industry. Therefore, you may find it important to ask yourself the following question: How valuable is an MBA?
Looks Good on Paper . . . But Consider the Risks
According to Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Standford Graduate School of Business, “It’s become unclear whether it makes sense to overburden yourself with expenses and loans in order to secure the possibility of a greater salary in the future.”
Clearly, if you make the decision to continue your education past college and work towards an MBA, you’re taking a risk; there is no guarantee that you’ll either get a job or get a job earning more money because of your newly earned degree.
Pfeffer has even made a correlation between the degree and its scarcity, believing that MBAs aren’t scarce or uncommon—millions of people have one or are working towards earning one. If anything, he considers judging the status or prestige of a specific school and whether or not it ranks in the top 15 worldwide versus the MBA title itself. This begs the question of what’s more important: the institute you attend or your level of education?
In fact, Mariana Zanetti discusses this same issue, among plenty of others, in her 2013 book, The MBA Bubble: Why Getting an MBA Degree is A Bad Idea. She explores the idea (with the aid of her own personal experience) of how she had gotten work not because she’d earned an MBA from IE Business School, but due to previous achievements, personal qualities and her past employment. To prove Zanetti’s point even further, once she had received her MBA and secured work post-schooling, she didn’t even find herself brining home more money.
Do Your Homework
In reality, going to school to earn an MBA could leave a person in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt, which could ultimately take a great amount of years to pay off. When hiring, there isn’t a shortage of MBAs—companies have plenty of prospects to choose from and the list continues to grow. Sadly, there seems to be a lack of respect or recognition for earning an MBA. That, along with the fact that even though someone may obtain an MBA, the amount of jobs in the world requiring an MBA stays the same, could result in major disappointment for multiple reasons.
Having an MBA on your resume may offer some credibility, but it will be important to consider how much before deciding to go through the long, difficult and expensive process. Therefore, be smart and do your homework—doing so could save you from a headache or two, as well as help to keep your wallet less empty.
Those who are contemplating going to business school to obtain an MBA should consider taking advantage of all tools at their exposure—for example, the annual employment report of graduates. This information can assist students in learning about the certain level of success of a specific school.
The director of career management at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School, Sharon Irwin-Foulon, has stated, “You should look at every employment report of the school you are looking at.”
A handful of schools have recently unveiled annual employment reports that show last year’s graduates according to the following categories: country of origin, gender, employment by sector and pay. This implement can educate students on where recent graduates have gotten hired and the average salary that is earned after graduating with an MBA. And if this specific information isn’t necessarily available or presented to students, then they should practice due diligence before applying and enrolling into an institute and ask how that specific school can or will assist with their careers once the MBA is completed.
After all, before you put yourself at risk for obtaining a large amount of debt, don’t you want to make sure that the payoff will eventually be worth it?
Now, that being said, there are plenty of benefits an individual can be exposed to when he or she chooses to spend the time and money to secure an MBA. For example, career advancement could be more plausible with a master of business administration degree, as well as the ability to earn a higher salary. As stated, this could depend on where you go to school and the company that hires you.
Furthermore, with an MBA, you may find it easier to start your own business and develop certain skills that will aid you in becoming successful in the business world. By participating in an MBA program, you could potentially open doors to various resources that only those with an MBA are privy to, such as certain networking opportunities, job security and the prestige of having a master of business administration degree.
Bottom line: whether or not an MBA is beneficial will depend on the specific individual and what he or she wishes to accomplish throughout his or her career.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.