Rakshit Sinha

This is a great piece. I am a manager of technologists in a financial services firm, and over the years many people on my teams have pursued an MBA at night. The stress of balancing classes with a (more than) full-time job is high, and in my experience the end result is frequently a net negative.

The reason is that very few technologists / engineers know why they want to get an MBA (except for the vague goal of advancing their careers) and can’t explain how their careers or lives would be different after having attained one. So they end up doing the same type of work they had been doing, except that they are unsatisfied because they expected that things would be different.

One exception was someone on my team who was determined to move out of technology into a business role, and the MBA was a great springboard for him. But it was only one of many steps — he fought for years afterward to move internally, first taking a role in Operations as a stepping-stone to the business. His MBA played a role in his ultimate success: among other things, it gave him “credibility” with businesspeople, although I’m not sure that was worth the tremendous investment. In my opinion, he was successful because he knew where he wanted to go and was relentless in his push to get there.

An MBA is not like an advanced degree in engineering or the sciences — it doesn’t teach you enough tangible new skills to justify the stress and cost in a vacuum. If you have a map for your career and you understand how an MBA will help you get there, that’s great! If you don’t, then there are far better ways to invest your money and time.

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