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Deciding to Go Back to School

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Once in a while, we talk about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree here (see Is the MBA Worthwhile? and Good Time to Be an MBA). Free Money Finance had a discussion this week about going back to school as well. How do you know if going back to school is the right thing for you?

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a recent article about The Decision within a larger feature about the best business schools. The authors cite two valid reasons for going back to school and also warn of two signs that going back to school may not be the right choice.

If these are your reasons, according to the article, going back to school makes sense:

* Your firm won’t promote you to the position you want unless you have an advanced degree.
* You want to pursue a different field of study.

Their two invalid reasons — that is, if these statements reflect why you are considering going back to school, you may not benefit from hitting the books again — are if:

* You’re waiting for the job market to improve.
* You want to buy time because you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life or you don’t feel ready for the working world.

I still believe that one can never have too much education, although experience is important as well. My main reason for getting an MBA was because I wanted to stand out within my surroundings, but importantly, my company is fotting 90% of the bill. Since I had that going for me, the remainder of the Kiplinger’s article that discusses the cost of school was minimally important to me.

The information is good, however, and it can be applied to any post-graduate education, not just business-related classes.

As part of the larger feature, the magazine lists the top business schools. The overall winners include Dartmouth (Tuck), Stanford, Pennsylvania (Wharton), Harvard, Chicago, Virginia (Darden), Columbia, Cornell (Johnson), Yale, and Northwestern (Kellogg). Their rankings are also broken down in different categories, such as U.S., non-U.S., and part time.

Also interesting to view is the informal poll which asks readers of the website to vote for one of four answers to the question: What is most valuable for career advancement? The choices are college degree, MBA, on-the-job experience, and string networking skills. Currently the vote stands at 17, 22, 27 and 34 percent respectively.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published September 16, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

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