At some point in your mid-20s, it’s possible that you’ll be met with this conundrum: find a new job or go to business school. As with every difficult decision, there are definite pros and cons to each, so today we’re going to take a look at business school as an option. Ultimately, business school should be an investment in your future, but there’s no harm in having a bit of fun with it either.
Pro: Career Advancement
The fact is, whether you get a Masters in Finance or the more traditional Masters of Business Administration, if you go to a good school, it is going to help your career. Business school can be a way to rebrand yourself, prove yourself, expand on your knowledge, or most importantly, grow your network. The merits of graduate degrees in business can be argued ad nauseum, but the access the networks grant you cannot. There is nothing better than being able to apply to a position through on-campus interviews that is inaccessible otherwise, or call up high powered alumni for help. An MBA or the phrase “I work in finance” may not have the panty-dropping power it once did pre-recession, but it’s a step in the right direction, regardless.
Con: Extra Debt & Lost Income
Still, that advancement comes at a cost. Unless you willingly decide to ruin your life for a couple years and go part-time, you are giving up a year or two of wages while paying a year or two of tuition along with living expenses. While post-graduate degree salaries are almost always an increase, the debt load coupled with lost income can swing you a couple hundred thousand dollars in the wrong direction at first. If you don’t have anything saved up or your company isn’t helping you pay, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Have fun paying a grand in student loans every month instead of the lease on your new Porsche.
Pro: Getting Excited To Leave
Once you get in, the excitement sets in. You’re probably moving to a new city, stepping into a new chapter of your life, quitting your job, and really making some serious moves for your future. You may not be able to quit your job right away, but dreaming about it is inching closer to reality and there is a definite end point in sight.
Con: Getting Everything Together
Of course, getting in means that you have to take the GMAT, gather letters of recommendation from old professors and current bosses, write essays that are somehow convincing but not the same bullshit that everyone else writes, and do all of this during your nights and weekends. You don’t want to ask the bosses who actually could give you a good letter because that would be letting them know your plan, professors may or may not remember your actual work and just base it off your transcript, and studying or writing at night after a long day is the last thing anyone wants.
Pro: Back In School
That being said, business school has been called the best two-year vacation from the workforce available. Goodbye 12-hour days. Goodbye waking up at 6am. Goodbye doing anything on Fridays if you don’t want to. Your awful workdays are replaced by short, in comparison, classes and group projects. Sure there is studying and work to be done, but networking events take the place of dreadful staff meetings and studying in your pajamas is much better than toiling away in Excel in a full suit, even though you’re not seeing a client anyhow. In a way, you can almost relive college, going to parties when you want, sleeping in when you want, working out when you want, all while trying to recapture the glory days.
Con: Back In School
At the same time, you are back in class, and that means homework and studying. In the case of business school, most of this homework is reading and group projects, and neither of those activities are any better than you remember them. Also, while you can certainly hit the parties and tailgates and bars, they don’t quite have the same gleam they once did. It’s not your parents’ money you’re spending anymore, hitting on freshman has gotten to a point where it’s kind of weird, and hell, you could be in a committed relationship, if not already married.
If you choose to go the business school route instead of trying to get a better job to replace your current travesty, there’s a lot out there for you. Unfortunately, along with career advancement, higher earning potential, and increased knowledge and networking, there is also soul-crushing debt, a return to the tedious monotony of higher education, and of course, the realization that you aren’t getting any younger.