I’m the kind of person who loves to learn. I’ve always enjoyed the classroom setting and had a knack for school. My company offers tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 – the IRS limit – for every calendar year for any pursuit of higher education. I decided that it would be worth pursuing a free MBA (although at a slow pace) since it would ultimately be a free degree, and hey, why not? The annual reimbursement amounted to two and a half classes a year, so some of it was out of pocket, but I had planned to be in corporate America for the next 20 or 30 years anyway and most of my mentors had graduate degrees.
I took eight classes (half way through!) before I moved down to Florida, and had planned to continue taking classes online, but I found after my first online class down in Florida that I had no desire to continue. The online format limited discussion and networking with peers, the lack of a designated class time made it harder for me to not procrastinate, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled or passionate. With my AirBnB business taking off, it was even harder to force myself to make the time. I was always running around, and so I did myself a favor and quit the MBA. I want to become an entrepreneur, and the MBA had turned into a drain on my time, energy, and would cost a lot of money if I left the workplace before the designated time limit.
Even though I quit, I want to put a plug in for an MBA. If you can get school reimbursed from work, you should seize the opportunity.
Caveat: I don’t recommend jumping right in without any work experience, and absolutely would recommend starting part time, because the best part was being able to apply what I learned in the classroom to my workplace.
Reasons to Go For That MBA
Reason #1: Networking! I met some of the best and brightest from Corporate America, and you can bet every dollar you have that I would have finished the degree had I (a) stayed in Michigan or (b) not been planning to abandon corporate America and establish a real estate empire. These are the people to know, the people with drive, the people who are moving, and they each pushed me to think differently, react differently, and focus on building the best possible business. They were investors, inventors, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Additionally, the alumni network can help you find new jobs or provide other opportunities.
Reason #2: New perspectives! It prepares you for executive leadership by giving you a well-rounded education of an entire business. You can’t lead a business to greatness if you don’t understand. I took Marketing, Accounting, Global Economics, Organizational Behavior, Supply Chain Management and IT Business Management in addition to other finance courses, and I can sincerely say that these classes exposed me to areas of the business I would never have thought about. A leader has to know the entire business to be able to direct the business, and the in-depth knowledge provided would be invaluable for anyone seeking to become a leader.
Reason #3: It prepares you for management if you want to go that route. My organizational behavior class was heavily focused on how to manage your employees and foster a productive workplace. Other classes focused on analysis, decision making, and other soft skills.
Reason #4: The classroom material is valuable if you take the time to really learn it. I learned more from my organizational behavior class about working with people and managing people than from any other experience in my life.
Reason #5: It prepares you for a substantial career that could move at a faster pace. Depending on your industry, you will likely have more opportunities for advancement. You will likely have more doors that open for you.
It’s always important to evaluate your own goals and priorities, and to decide how and if more school fits into your lifestyle. If your work will reimburse the higher education, though, don’t squander the opportunity.