A Measure of Master’s Degrees – ABF Podcast Summary (16 March 2018)
Is an MBA worth it? It’s the cost that put people off, as a reputable master’s programme can be about 100k USD for a good one overseas, like an Ivy League school. For the INSTEAD one in Singapore, it isn’t cheap as well. The tuition fees also can cost up to a $100k for a programme. In the US, there are plenty of students on debt, and the numbers are growing. Many borrowers may default on their student loans as well. The return of investments may not be very clear as well.
Is working experience more important as compared to having an MBA? Some people would prefer to take up specialists’ masters degrees, as they are cheaper and can land you good jobs as well. The NUS MBA gives you a framework for good decision making, and that would be useful for an entrepreneur, and give you a broad based experience. The MBA can provide you with a lot of contacts, such as that of VCs. Some of the lecturers at NUS are also angel investors, and take care of incubators etc and may be a great value-add for any entrepreneur. A large number of grads in the US have MBAs and it is considered a ‘premium education’.
For the entry level, MBA can give you the edge at the start, and it is easier to land a job. However, whether you can fast track into management remains to be seen. Quite a number of MBAs have relevant work experiences as well. For the Big 4 accounting firms, work experiences matters more. If you get an MBA right after school, the value of it diminishes somewhat.
In Asia, are brand name MBAs important? For investment banking and management consulting, MBAs are a must. One needs to be very clear before taking up an MBA programme. For general management roles, MBAs are preferred also. There are also many options for local Singaporeans to get local scholarships. Quite a number of students are being sponsored by their organizations. The NUS MBA is flexible and you can complete it within 3 years. Academic scenarios or case studies in the curriculum are definitely relevant, and not just theory, for example: digital marketing. For NUS MBA, there are even models you can take and customize your own learning journey.
However, nowadays there are roles that require specialist marketing degrees. Specialist masters are becoming a lot more popular in recent times. Even without masters, MBA, if you upskill yourself in a technical area, it is still possible to strive and do well in the job market, especially in the tech-space.