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Masters of Business Administration: Discuss everything related to MBA with fellow aspirants and those who've been there, done that!
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Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Oct 10, 2014

I regret getting a MBA Degree - Does anyone ever say that? If yes, why?

While reading an answer on Quora, I stumbled upon this link - 10 things I wish I knew about getting an MBA. It got me thinking. Thousands of Indian graduates prepare for MBA exams year after year looking for a stream change, in search of 'management' skills, for getting a higher paying job or simply because they want to earn a masters degree. The reasons could be many, but does anyone ever regret paying the huge amount of money needed to pay for an MBA education? I know we don't have a lot of MBAs here. Moreover, those who actually have a MBA degree might not want to come forward and say that they regret spending two years of their life in a college campus that they don't value now.

The question is important to be answered because the guy who wrote that article on his blog has graduated from Harvard Business School (one of the topmost B-schools in the world) and if doesn't think that the return-on-investment (time & money) wasn't that great, those looking to do MBA must stop and ponder and take wiser decisions. He makes some pretty solid points about high expectations from friends/family/employers, how prominently does that degree shine on a person's resume and the kind of jobs the MBA grads land up in after spending two valuable years of their life.

Looking for inputs, suggestions, opinion and experience sharing from fellow engineers. What have you heard and read? Do you think someone can actually regret a MBA degree? If yes, why?
Shashank Moghe
Shashank Moghe • Oct 10, 2014
Well, I read a similar blog post from an IIM (or some other top B-school) MBA who lost touch with life, after taking up a job as a management/strategy consultant. We know as a top management consultant, you will be extremely busy as a professional. You signed up for that when you went for that entrance examination. Apart from that, one very big flaw I saw (in my mentality/our mentality) when I was about graduating-age from undergrad engineering was the fact that we only want a big pile of money in our account at the end of each month, when we are 21/22. That is the "dream job" for us. No matter how intellectually gifted we are, we want that pile. And that's about it. I have seen many extremely talented people ruin their technical education right after graduating. This happens to most of us in India, I blame the false image shown by movies/tv/whatever. After you start earning that big pile, you realize that you lost a shot at something you were good at, and that is a point of no return- you cannot come back.
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Oct 10, 2014
Shashank Moghe
and that is a point of no return- you cannot come back.
The sole reason for this is the stupendous amount of fees that the B-schools demand for a MBA degree. Any average middle-class person wanting to push himself up the hierarchy is at loss of options. An year or two into a job that a campus placement got you, the pressure to earn better creeps in. There's either a post-grad degree or the mad-race of job switching. Amidst that, the myths of MBA are sure to grip you tight. There's all sorts of advice flowing in from colleagues and cousins.
Very rarely do these advices have an iota of truth (mostly because there are very few 'success stories' to bank on). And that bring me back to the question.
Do MBA graduates regret spending their resources (time and money) in a B-school?
Shashank Moghe
Shashank Moghe • Oct 10, 2014
Well my reason for not being able to return was the inability to return to a position of technical contribution. After B-school, you are more or less destined forever to delve deeper and deeper into M-Word, make statements which can be burnt down into one or two words and "try" to drive technology by yourself not contributing an ounce to the technical work.

You are right about the equivocal advice that you get, but after all, nobody stopped you from making an educated decision. You went for that green grass, which more often than not is a temporal mirage.
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare • Oct 10, 2014
There were times I was preparing for MBA but a few months down the preparation line, I realised that I need not be expert at solving number series and work/time problems to be in the business. It'd require totally different skills. And it turns out to be true.

I prepared for MBA entrance for several months; and actually figured out I need not take CAT just a month before CAT. Never regretted my decision.
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Oct 10, 2014
I believe life is too short to regret doing anything.

Also, a lot of it must matter on where you get your MBA from.

I also always believed that even though a MBA degree could come with what they call 'golden handcuffs', it would totally depend on how one makes use of his/her time spent for two years in a B-school campus. For instance, some guy graduating from an Ivy League Business School or the IIM in India would have two choices come what may. One is to get a key into completely new places where access is not easy for others (thanks to a strong alumni community, networking and a really good class profile). The other would be to start at the bottom of a management profile job along with a huge debt over your head and the over-pressure to settle down because you are 27 or 30.

I think at that age, being debt-free and ready to do something of your choice than being handcuffed to a more-than-average paying job because of the loan-repaying need is something any person would wish for.
So, can there be any regret stories? Have you or your friends heard some?
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Oct 10, 2014
Sorry for spamming this discussion with links to other blogs.
But here is a pretty good insight on the feeling of regret.

https://www.regretfreelife.net/grad-school-2/
He lists out the best case, worst case and the most likely scenarios quite perfectly.

PS: Just for the record, I don't want to steer this discussion into the classic MBA vs. Startup/Business debate. This discussion is for any normal MBA aspirant who would rather stick to a 9-to-5 job than take a leap-of-faith into owning a venture.
Shashank Moghe
Shashank Moghe • Oct 10, 2014
I think you are sidelining the point where engineers get an MBA degree to get higher paying jobs. That's their sole motive behind getting an MBA. I would respect someone doing an MBA to start/expand a business of his/her own. But I have seen Mechanical engineers working at Aerospace companies (there are very few who get that opportunity) go for MBAs just to get better money. He, for one, does not regret it, may be money drives him. But for many, it might not be the driving factor in the long run. Some years down the line, they would surely wish if they stayed back to keep using their brains. But now they cannot go back to working on Jet engines, for they have been working on excel sheets for the past 5-10 years.

I am not saying an MBA is regrettable. All I am saying is that with the current "follower trend", where almost every engineer ends up giving CAT/XAT/GMAT in the final year of engineering in the dream of a good package, the chances of future regrets go high. Not everybody is designed to be a "Manager". Some are born Teslas and Edisons.
Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Sep 28, 2015
*Bumping this thread*
Want to hear more opinions on this.
Tagging @Anoop Mathew @Anil Jain @Saandeep Sreerambatla
Anoop Mathew
Anoop Mathew • Sep 28, 2015
Before I begin commenting, let me tell you some facts about me so that people reading this and who don't know me will know why I chose to pursue an MBA degree in Systems & Finance {from Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management, Pune, India}

Work Experience: 2.25 years as a Network Operations Center (NOC) Engineer in the Telecommunications (VoIP) sector.
Hobbies: Learning about Mobile Technology and latest Gadgets, Blogging, Photography, Poetry
Vision: As said on my KYCean, its a dream to start a business one day - probably an Electronics Hypermarket Chain (other ideas are also enroute, but this is by far the most close to my heart).
Reality: I'm currently in my first year of MBA Telecom Management (Systems & Finance)
Why Choose an MBA in Telecom Management (Systems & Finance)?
1. Perks of knowing Technology and now learning about using that technology in Business to make money. Earlier, the Business part was lacking (a lot!!!).
2. Perks of learning it from the Top B-School for Telecom Management in India.
3. Perks of living in an era where there's demand for Techno-Managers and an ever changing demand for Telecom (which is now expanding into ICT) professionals.
In my short experience (10+ years), I have met many friends who did MBA as a regular or executive course and later felt that they regret.

But believe me, all of them who really deserved to do MBA (read deserve as capable, and had zeal, because they had interest rather than just did for the sake of post grad) got good fruits later in their lives. MBA definitely gives a push to you in later part of your career.

Technical education teaches you how to do the things technically, logically. In two years, MBA teaches you how to furnish and fast pace your life
(NOTE: it's the same education that you get with YEARS of experience if you are not MBA)

-CB

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