5 reasons not to get an MBA

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

It’s tough to stand out from the pack in a place as competitive as the San Francisco Bay Area—every opportunity seems to be crowded by people with advanced degrees.

But while getting an MBA may appear like a good way to boost your credentials, in the Bay Area, it may not give you the best return on your investment. Here are five reasons why you should not get an MBA.

Experience carries more weight
Local hiring managers and recruiters look at experience over education. They are more intrigued by someone with the hands-on experience with a particular technology or type of client than with a candidate with a graduate degree in business.

When considering less-seasoned applicants, employers prefer internships over an MBA. Work experience translates to transferable skills, while success in a graduate business course does not. And at the end of the day, employers want to spend less time training and more time producing.

Follow your passion
There are other graduate programs that may be more aligned with your interests than an MBA. For instance, if you enjoy managing engineering teams, a Masters in Engineering may be a better fit. Also, consider your career plans. If your idea is to work at startups or at mid-sized companies for the rest of your career, then an MBA won’t give you any more options than what you have now.

Too many MBAs
With the large number of weekend and online graduate business programs, the Bay Area has experienced a jump in MBA graduates. And with the MBA becoming more and more common, it has lost the prestige it once had.

The new way to network
Once upon a time, people got an MBA for the opportunity to build their network. Social media has changed that. With LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus, people have access to decision makers without having to set foot in the classroom. Also, with the competition being so fierce in the Bay Area, it is more likely that your classmates will become your competition than a networking opportunity.

Doesn’t guarantee an executive role
Again, when considering a candidate for an executive position, hiring committees are looking for business experience. For example, a startup would most likely hire a CIO who has prior startup experience. In this case, an MBA would not help close the deal.

Graduate degrees in Business Administration are expensive. And in the Bay Area, they don’t provide much of a career boost. Whether you want to be a manager at a startup or with a tech giant, decision makers are looking for work experience and culture fits—not for an MBA.

Belo Cipriani is an award-winning author, former staffing professional, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University. Learn more at BeloCipriani.com.

Belo Cipriani