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February 16, 2007


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You are on target. A newly minted degree at 40 isn't worth any more than a newly minted one at 25, and probably less as the company can't expect as many years out of it either. The most it can do is slow the rate of depreciation, but there is little evidence of it's power at that either. So much for the new 40.

As someone who got his MBA within the last year, at age 34...

It is possible to get an advanced degree (specifically an MBA) too early as well. Many of my classmates were straight from undergrad and had no real-world experience from which to draw. In my opinion, this lessened the value of THEIR particular degree.

Now although this opinion is mostly about the "value of learning" stuff you didn't want to discuss, I think it also colors my opinion of hiring someone like that as well. Between two 25 year old applicants, I personally would value a BA + 3 years relevant experience over an MBA with 0 experience. Your mileage may vary.

As for whether the degree impacted me monetarily, I'm an erroneous data point. I switched careers at the same time and took a modest paycut after being unemployed for 3 years.

I think the bumbling manager with an MBA stands a better chance of switching companies and using that MBA for a higher paying job. The new company may not realize that he's bumbling and go by the nice resume, the nice education, and maybe a bit of smooth talking.

In a lot of ways the MBA stands as a piece of paper vetting you. Someone without an MBA, even with glowing references, would probably not do as well in a job switch.

1. If someone's a bumbling manager, they usually aren't that smooth.

2. Are you speaking from experience or just giving an opinion? I've actually been in the situation and hired people where criteria was nearly the same. If an MBA was a tie breaker, it would hold some sway, but intangibles like company fit, personality, etc. would be just as important or more so.

@Lord -

You've definitely got a point about waiting a few years to get your MBA so you have some real world experience to apply your new found knowledge too. That being said I got my MBA right after my bachelors (was working full-time while getting it though) and while I may not have got the most out of my MBA because of lack of experience to apply to class work. And yes if you had the choice between a BA+3 years and and MBA with 0 experience (although in my case I got 2 years full-time experience while getting MBA) go with the BA. Now lets forward just 3 years. BA+6 years or MBA +3 I'm thinking the MBA is going to win just about every battle once he has 2 or 3 years experience.

I finished my MBA and did not see an immediate impact right away. But now just a little over 2 years later I'm making over $30,000 more a year than I was before and I don't see things topping out for a while. I'd say get the MBA as soon as possible.

I have thought it peculiar that companies go to such lengthy efforts to find just the right person as though they were hiring them for life, but cast them off so readily whenever there is a shortfall. Most will not be with a company more than 5-10 years so using lifetime criteria and spending a fortune in effort, money, and time is unwarranted. Yet it is done almost everyday and everywhere.

You have some good points in the article that I hadn't considered. I got my degree from Concordia University when I was in my 20s, and felt like it was beneficial to me - BUT, at that point I was just starting my career. After reading your article, I'm glad I did it sooner rather than later.

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