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Is an MBA worthwhile or worthless for tech pros?

Sharon Florentine | Jan. 28, 2014
Once seen as a valuable differentiator for career advancement, the intrinsic worth of an MBA degree is now a hotly debated subject in the enterprise.

"Make sure you're looking within your own organization at different roles, responsibilities and tasks you could assume that will get you to that goal," he says. If, for example, you're aiming for a new business development role and your current position is more internally focused, keeping an eye on available sales positions and customer-facing initiatives you can get involved with can help take your skills to the next level.

Location Matters
Another factor that affects the worth of your MBA is the school that granted the degree. And if you happen to have an MBA from a "no-name" school, its benefit is negligible, says Rick Gillis, job search strategist, career specialist and consultant.

"MBAs aren't worth too much anymore unless there's a major Ivy League name attached," Gillis says. "There are so many institutions, both online and brick-and-mortar, that are offering these that the elite nature of the degree has been watered down. It's become just an add-on degree, and it should absolutely be seen as a supplement to your existing job-specific skills, experience and knowledge," he says.

A recent Business Insider survey asked more than 300 professionals across the healthcare, government, technology and finance industries, among others, what value they perceived in an MBA degree, and asked them to rank business schools.

More than 77 percent of survey respondents selected Harvard University as number one, with 60 percent choosing Yale University. Stanford University slid to third place with 58 percent of respondents choosing the school. The survey also asked respondents to rate the value of an MBA, and only 3 percent stated that MBAs were "extremely important." A 61 percent majority said an MBA was "slightly important" or "moderately important."

"Do you need an MBA to be successful? No," says Borre. "But for senior leadership candidates, it could help them be more strategic and forward-looking in business management roles," she says.

"To be able to talk about what you created, how you drove success, and to give examples of what types of environments you worked in and how you delivered on the promise of your projects — those are more important. When we look at candidate profiles, we look at education, sure, but we mostly look at what they have accomplished," Borre says.


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