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Discussion Starter #1
I recently saw an advertisement for the Queens University accelerated MBA program (for students that studied business in undergrad). There is part of me that is interested in such a program, so a read some of the marketing materials and found that the cost of the program is $64,000. This is slightly more than their full time MBA program. (I would note though that the opportunity cost of the AMBA program is much less than the full time program since it's only a year long, you don't need to quit your job, and the program is delivered in multiple cities, rather than in Kingston.) I think education is valuable, but I wonder how much value having an MBA, even one from a "prestigious" institution like Queens, has over a bachelor's degree in business administration or commerce.

My questions for discussion are:
1. What do you think your education is/was worth to you?
2. If you went to university or college, how did the long-term career implications of your major/specialty influence your decision?
3. Would you consider going back to school to raise your earning potential? and under what circumstances would you do so?
4. Are there degree or diploma programs out there that you consider to be way overpriced? If so, which ones, and why?
 

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I think it depends strongly on your particular field. Some employers (especially those with MBAs themselves) place value an MBA; others put a higher value on experience than credentials. I only have a BA, but I've been chosen over people with Masters and even PhDs for a few jobs due to my experience...and maybe my winning personality. ;) I also haven't seen any effect on my earning potential due to my lack of a higher degree. But that's my particular field. In other fields you may earn more or be more employable based on your credentials.

Many of the most successful managers and entrepreneurs in the world today don't have MBAs, and some don't even have undergraduate degrees (e.g., Steve Jobs). On the other hand, many people with MBAs feel the degree helped them get a better job or a higher salary.
 

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I tend to agree with Brad, if you are going into a high demand field that pays quite a bit it might be worth the student debt. If your going to graduate and earn upwards 80k per year than go for it, you will pay off the loan in no time. Unfortunately my liberal arts degree did jack for me in the corporate world. Luckily I paid my way through school by working and kept the loans to a minimum. I think of the poor bastards who graduated with me owing over 40k, damn glad i'm not in their shoes. I have one buddy who with his wife owes over 80k, he pays close to 1000 per month, thats a regular mortgage payment out here in Quebec.
 

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1. What do you think your education is/was worth to you?
It was definately worth the $12K that I paid for it.

2. If you went to university or college, how did the long-term career implications of your major/specialty influence your decision?
I decided that I didn't want to follow my major/specialty.

3. Would you consider going back to school to raise your earning potential? and under what circumstances would you do so?
I would never go back to school because my degree has no bearing on my earning potential. I would go back to school to give a paid speech to the graduating class; maybe.

4. Are there degree or diploma programs out there that you consider to be way overpriced? If so, which ones, and why?
I would assume that market action and capitalism govern the prices of degrees. The institution should supposedly charge what they can get.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would go back to school to give a paid speech to the graduating class; maybe.
Ha! I liked this part of your response.

JC,
I guess those 15% of parents that are saving for their children's post-secondary education over their own retirement are hoping that their kids get high-paying jobs after graduation and look after them.
Children's education = Retirement plan

brad,
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates may not have had formal business education, but they are a small sample from a vast pool of corporate leaders. I see them as outliers (also the tech industry seems more amenable to brainy dropouts than others). I agree that experience can be a much more important factor than formal education. I also agree that an MBA is not a necessary ingredient to get into upper management. I would say though that earning it wouldn't hurt one's chances.
 

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Steve Jobs and Bill Gates may not have had formal business education, but they are a small sample from a vast pool of corporate leaders.
True, but I remember seeing some analysis a few years back showing that a really small percentage (something like 5%, though I'm probably not remembering correctly) of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had MBAs. I think an MBA might be more useful for getting into middle management, but it seems like many CEOs get to where they are because they're born leaders, not because of anything they learned in formal education.
 

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Robillard, I'd consider doing the MBA if my current employer would be willing to pay for most if not all of the tab. Chances are, the more educated you are, the better for the company as well.
 

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I was extremely irritated by college. The property management program was 2 years and the content (for me)was too spread out. I did go to school as a serious adult so I was not too amused by the teacher who missed 8 out of 16 classes.

I did get top first year student and a $800 scholarship.

If I felt the need to get "educated" I would buy the books rather than take the classes.
 

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True, but I remember seeing some analysis a few years back showing that a really small percentage (something like 5%, though I'm probably not remembering correctly) of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had MBAs.
I have a vague recollection that the degree that really shows up in the top job is engineering.

hboy43
 

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Being Irish my tuition was $0, so my degree was a great bargain ... combined with my bartending job I left with a decent sum in the bank. Plus it was vocational and has landed me some great jobs. As such seeing north american tuition rates makes me feel almost physically ill. I wouldn't spend $64k of my own money on any form of education, personally, but I'd sure as hell take someone else's cash to do it.

If you're considering the MBA you should check out Philip Delves Broughton's "Ahead of the Curve" about his (very recent) time doing an MBA at Harvard. Not that every MBA is Harvard/case study method and not that every student is an ex-journalist but it's a quick read and I thought it was great.
 

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I actually just finished my MBA at the end of this summer.

All universities will claim that you will get a great job after going through such program. This is not as simple as it seems ;-)

I did it because my employer paid for it. I would never consider quitting my job (and borrowing 64K) for a diploma. It's not like you get out of Queens with a 6 figures job offer along with your MBA ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This was all a bit hypothetical. I am currently working on the CFA program, so I'm not about to jump right into an MBA program right now. Also, I already have a good job; though maybe with a master's degree and some more experience, I could get an even better job...
 
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