Earning a Master of Business Administration degree may seem like the way to get on the fast-track to upper management, but it isn't the best answer for everyone. To get your MBA, you'll have to make significant sacrifices without a guarantee of employment. Though 86 percent of MBA graduates in 2011 had jobs, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 14 percent had not yet found employment.
According to Forbes, the average cost of an MBA program at a top school is $100,000 at the time of publication. If you're going to school full time, the amount of lost income can equal another $100,000 or more. Though you may be eligible for some financial aid programs, you'll probably have to foot much of the bill yourself. If you're taking out loans to pay for your education, factor in the cost of interest, which will easily add tens of thousands of dollars to the final payment. Graduates with an MBA do tend to have higher earning power, but you may have earned the same amount of money without the MBA.
A typical MBA program can take anywhere from one year for students going to school full time, to eight years for students only attending part time. This is a big time commitment, whether you're studying full time or adding your studies on top of a full-time job. That time is taken away from your family and loved ones, and though you may be working toward a better future, you're also missing important moments in the present.
Limits Creative Thinking
According to the Australian Institute of Business, the skills you acquire in an MBA program may be too narrowly focused. A manager who is not falling back on the education she learned in an MBA program may be able to think more creatively, while someone with an MBA may be tempted to implement solutions that worked for other companies but may not work in the current case. Earning an MBA can give you a general overview of management, but you may end up trying to manage "by the book" rather than having the ability to adapt to meet your business's needs.
Not Specialized Enough
In some industries, the best person for a job in management isn't someone who has special training in business management. It's someone who has specialized training in the industry. A generalized MBA may not get you the job that you want. Instead, it may be more beneficial to get a specialized MBA, according to Nigel Banister, chief executive of Manchester Business School Worldwide, in an article in "Businessweek." Unfortunately, specializing in a particular industry can also limit your opportunities to only that industry.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.