Does an MBA Still Matter? Yyyyup.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the value of an MBA. With the global economy in the crapper, people getting laid off from their jobs every day, and things not looking like they’re going to get any better any time soon, many people out there wonder if it makes sense to fork over $200,000 (and potentially give up 2 years of income) for an MBA.  And yeah, there are very legitimate reasons not to pursue b-school. Trust me, we know. But there are also very legitimate reasons why now is actually a fabulous time to go to business school.

So let’s take a moment to tear through the “why nots” and show you why they’re actually “why to’s”.

$100,000 is a lot of money to spend…especially right now.

Really, it’s not. For the average MBA, the return-on-investment can be as short as two years. Two years! Over the course of the next 40 years in your career, $100K doesn’t amount to much, right? So don’t be shortsighted, folks.  A master’s degree isn’t a short-term investment — it is a long-term investment.

There are no jobs out there right now. I’m not going to waste more money only to be unemployed in two years with student loans.

Sure the economy stinks now. But one thing that the past 200 years of economic history has taught us is that bad times are followed by good times. We are in a down phase now. Most likely, things will be better in two, three or four years (read: by the time you finish your program). Or at least, they likely won’t be any worse. Plus, grad school will make you more employable and, if nothing else, is a great opportunity to network with people (and potential employers!) you never would have met otherwise.

Graduate school won’t really teach me anything I don’t already know.

One word, folks: FALSE. The truth is, the world is changing and a master’s degree will allow you to change with it. The key isn’t to learn the specifics of the day, it’s to learn how to think. You’ll learn the basic skills that will come in handy, no matter how quickly the world changes in the coming years.

Why would I give up a good job with a good salary to become a student again?

Easy answer: Life experience. Life is a journey, my friends. Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Experience new people, settings, horizons and perspectives. What could be more important in your career, or your life, than that? I’m going to go ahead and say nothing. Here’s a thought: You will make amazing friends in school. You will go to these peoples’ weddings and meet their children. It will be a life-altering experience, not just from a career perspective (networking, networking, networking), but also from a “life well-lived” perspective.

A grad degree is worthless.

I graduated from Harvard Business School in 2005 and I wouldn’t have gotten any of my jobs post-MBA without that degree. Now, obviously not everyone will get into a top-five, top-20 or even top-50 program, but still, the credibility you gain from a great program will be worth its weight in gold long-term.

Times are tough right now, there’s no doubt about it, but one thing is for sure: The timing could not be better to apply to b-school (or any graduate program) and invest in your future.

The Tuesday Q&A: Euro vs. US B-School Applications