Is getting an MBA still worth it?

With declining enrollment rates in MBA programs, the question of how valuable a master’s degree in business seems to be surfacing more and more frequently. Despite the number of people entering graduate programs around the U.S. being on the decline for roughly half a decade, receiving a degree of this caliber still carries weight in today’s job market. So why are Americans balking at the chance to gain credibility and a wider range of job opportunities in the business world? When taking a deeper look into American MBA programs, a multitude of factors contribute to the drop in participants.      

Students of recent times are beginning to realize that paying the exorbitant price of a graduate degree along with missing out on two years of pay in the workforce is completely unreasonable. In fact, according to TopMBA, the average cost of an MBA degree is upwards of $60,000, thus making the hesitation from students who already have the debt of an undergraduate degree understandable. However, because of this, some MBA programs have made the push to make their degrees more practical and affordable. 


The University of Illinois Gies School of Business’s director of MBA programs said, “The only way to survive is to adapt to the shifting climate.” Many schools have also not shifted their MBA programs to fit the modern era, teaching older business tactics that do not accommodate to current students’ need for more specific, in-depth degrees and equipping students with the incorrect tools to become leaders in today’s society. In turn, business students from the U.S. have shifted their focus to cheaper one-year graduate degree options or even MBA programs overseas that offer shortened courses.

Although many schools have not changed their curriculum or the outdated way the information is conveyed to students, there are plenty of schools who made these advancements. Georgetown University is one of the schools pioneering changes to the way typical business programs work. Along with some other universities, Georgetown has made available the option of a “flex MBA” degree, a program in which students have the ability to minimize the rigor of receiving a standard full-time MBA degree by providing schedule flexibility. 

In addition to Georgetown, other schools are progressing by updating material to center their focus on specific branches of business. Cornell University, for example, recently implemented a technology centered MBA option with the intent to conform to the advancing business platform and benefit students with the most enterprising mindsets.      

The Verdict

If you are someone who is on the fence about receiving the MBA, you could look at it from a couple different perspectives. One viewpoint is to recognize that obtaining your master’s degree will still substantially help you in the job market and opens up doors to numerous opportunities. On the other hand, attending graduate school can entail hefty debt, chew up much of your time, and even provide you with skills that are obsolete in modern business. Even though the rates of enrollment for MBA degrees across America continues to decrease, it could prove to be a positive in the long run. As more students decide to enroll in one-year degree options, go to other countries for an MBA, or even ignore the idea of getting their master’s degree, more schools will realize that modernizing their programs is a necessity to get an increase in enrollment numbers once again.    

If you would like to learn more on this topic:

The Future of the MBA