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Schwartz86

Advantages of MBA?

9 posts in this topic

Hi GameDev.Net Community,

I am employed full time as a software engineer and I am currently less than a year away from completing a Master's degree in computer science. My employer has paid for all of my schooling and will continue to pay for a large portion of my schooling should I continue to pursue an MBA (after completing my MS in CS). Someday, I would like to start/run my own small business and this would be my main reason for even considering pursuing an MBA. However, after looking through the courses offered in most MBA programs, they didn't seem to interest me near as much as those in my CS studies. I am on the fence on trying to determine whether an MBA is worth the time/effort

My main questions are:

Is an MBA actually as helpful as everyone seems to make it out to be? Or is most learning done from experience?

With other employers, does having an MBA help open opportunities for management positions/promotions?

Does it make sense to pursue an MBA on top of a M. in CS? Will I make myself "overqualified" in the future?

If I decide I want to "stay technical" will my MBA degree be wasted?

Thanks for any input. Its always interesting hearing different views!
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For a couple of years now, the market has been oversaturated with MBAs. Basically, the current batch of MBA graduates aren't finding jobs, and not finding a job out of school with an MBA is the kiss of death. I would avoid pursuing an MBA degree right now unless you have a genuine interest in the curriculum.
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You want to go to school to learn to start a business? I think it's highly unnecessary. Much like the best way to learn to program games is by actually programming games, the best way to learn to run a business is to start running a business. If you read advice from successful businessman, almost all of them will tell you that your first few ventures will fail, and that this is a good thing. From this standpoint, you can save yourself a lot of money by just starting a small, low or no capital business and seeing what problems you run into. Don't wait till after you've got an MBA to try it. Reading books and getting involved in local groups or internet forums with specific questions will be a much more informational than an MBA.

If you're looking to get promoted, and it's 100% paid for, then it could be an assett depending on the company you work for. Some companies want or require MBAs at a certain level, some don't care about degrees at all.
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[quote name='Schwartz86' timestamp='1315098640' post='4857311']
I am on the fence on trying to determine whether an MBA is worth the time/effort[/quote]

An MBA is a piece of paper. It will sit in a drawer, collecting dust and get brittle with age. When you go about your career, it will still be a piece of paper and won't do anything to help you at all. Pieces of paper are like that.


Something else will be causing you problems. Entitlement.

All questions are about what a piece of paper will do for you. Nothing. As said, it's a piece of paper that doesn't do anything.

You seem to be under impression that by having masters and MBA you are entitled to something. A job, a career, a promotion, a business.... As mentioned, the market is oversaturated with people who think the same. There is a lot of complaining going on that university degrees are worthless and overpriced. Well, duh, perhaps they should add a mandatory 101 class - "What degrees are and what they do".

Instead, what do you hope to gain from MBA? How will it help you with starting a business? Do you think that maybe you will meet like-minded people there? That it will explain the realities of how markets work? That it may introduce you to people who have gone through it before? That the assignments of writing a business plan and presenting it before class will give you practice in pitching your ideas to investors? That by practicing balancing spreadsheets you will get a feeling for true cost of operating a business venture?

Or do you hope to get a shiny paper, that will impress investors so much they will give you a million bucks, then you will get million customers, all in awe that you possess such paper and then you retire rich and happy? Quite a few MBAs I know live under this impression.


So ask not what your degrees can do for you. Ask what you can do for your degrees, and chances will be slightly better in your favor. 50% of everything will still be luck.

[quote] the market has been oversaturated with MBAs.[/quote]
Markets are oversaturated with everything. With exception of welders, those are in short supply.
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Thanks for all the responses guys. I feel like I did a horrible job stating my question. I suppose more than anything what I am trying to figure out is if it is worth the time invest to pursue a business related degree. I understand in the long run that all I will be getting is piece of paper and I realize that piece of paper doesn't entitle me to anything. The main reason I would be pursuing the degree is to get exposure to how the business side of things work not just to get a pieces of paper. I realize that this can be done on my own. The only reason I am even considering it is because my employer has offered to flip a large portion of the bill and the largest part of my commitment is time.

Thanks again for all the input. Please keep the responses coming.
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[quote name='Schwartz86' timestamp='1315159909' post='4857561']
Thanks for all the responses guys. I feel like I did a horrible job stating my question. I suppose more than anything what I am trying to figure out is if it is worth the time invest to pursue a business related degree. I understand in the long run that all I will be getting is piece of paper and I realize that piece of paper doesn't entitle me to anything. The main reason I would be pursuing the degree is to get exposure to how the business side of things work not just to get a pieces of paper. I realize that this can be done on my own. The only reason I am even considering it is because my employer has offered to flip a large portion of the bill and the largest part of my commitment is time.

Thanks again for all the input. Please keep the responses coming.
[/quote]

As with most things in life, you will get out of it what you put in. Getting an MBA to learn about business will be much the same as getting your bachelor's degree to learn about Software Engineering. How did you feel about that process?

Why not start going for it for a class or two and see if it's something you will see a benefit from?

IMO, if you're doing it for yourself, I think you would benefit more, on orders of magnitude, by spending the time actually starting a business, personal study, and getting feedback from mentors. Not to mention you would theoretically be making money. You'll learn an incredible amount out of necessity by starting a small (low or no capital) business, not to mention it would prepare you if you go for your MBA to get in the right mindset.

It's a bit like teaching an american Rugby. You can go over all the rules for quite some time, if you throw them in a game after explaiing all the rules, they will forget everything you told them. You get more by letting them play a little bit, screwing up, and then explaining the details after they have some initial exposure.
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[quote]
It's a bit like teaching an american Rugby. You can go over all the rules for quite some time, if you throw them in a game after explaiing all the rules, they will forget everything you told them. You get more by letting them play a little bit, screwing up, and then explaining the details after they have some initial exposure.
[/quote]

That is an awesome analogy. As an American who has played rugby I can 100% relate to what you are trying to say!
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[quote name='Schwartz86' timestamp='1315426022' post='4858785']
[quote]
It's a bit like teaching an american Rugby. You can go over all the rules for quite some time, if you throw them in a game after explaiing all the rules, they will forget everything you told them. You get more by letting them play a little bit, screwing up, and then explaining the details after they have some initial exposure.
[/quote]

That is an awesome analogy. As an American who has played rugby I can 100% relate to what you are trying to say!
[/quote]

Actually it's a shitty analogy because it's a strangely specific example of a general bit of common sense. You tell anyone of any nationality the steps and rules to accomplish any non-trivial task, be it sport or job or game, and that person will not fully grasp the task until that person tries it out for himself. That's why our first President, George Washington, invented the concept of "practicing shit", when before him everyone just sat around talking about how to do things.
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[quote name='alnite' timestamp='1315209408' post='4857736']
Here's why:
[list=1][*]Your employer is paying for it. Nothing is better than [b]free money[/b] and [b]free education[/b]. Just make sure you read the fine prints if there is any strings attached.[*]Degrees are useless for your brain, but they still look good on resume. I bet that you'll land more job interviews with MBA/MSc/BSc combination than a MSc/BSc. Whether you get the job is a different question, however.[/quote][/list]
I've always wanted an MBA, so I'm kind of skewed, but I'd definitely take it for the first reason. I've wanted one mostly for me just because I feel like it's something I want to do, not so much because I think it it will benefit me a ridiculous amount.
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