This is a continuation of my previous post on this subject. I am at the halfway point in pursuit of an MBA degree and have found myself reflecting on this question once again. The first time I did this was before I applied to the Executive MBA program at ASU. This time it is after a year of study and a great deal of “If I knew then what I know now would I still make the same decision” thinking. The short answer is yes but I’ve made some observations over the last year that may be of interest to any physician considering the same decision. (For the initial three observations click on the previous post link above.)
4) Nobody will value your investment in an MBA degree more than you. This may seem obvious but it is an extremely important point. When you invest time during the course of your studies this time commitment will mean someone else will be responsible for covering your practice in your absence. The people who cover you may be your business partners, employees of the hospital or colleagues who you have asked to assist you while you are away. At first it will be easy for them to cover but if they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart that arrangement will grow thin over time. At some point in time it will become obvious to them that if they do not feel like they are benefiting from the arrangement the deal will go bad. While you are away studying they are covering you and despite all their initial support for your endeavors they will come to regret it. The looser your coverage arrangements the quicker the deal will derail. If there is some value they will get in return for your endeavors the greater the likelihood they will support you. If they perceive no value in return, while covering for you, the greater the likelihood they will sabotage your efforts. That is painfully obvious to me now but I was completely unaware of this a year ago.
5) An MBA degree, or any other investment in human capital for that matter, expands and alters your view of the world. What you do with that new view is up to you so ultimately the answer to the question of whether it is worth it to pursue such a degree will always be in the hands of its possessor. An MBA degree provides a view of the world in which you live and work that is different than the one you previously held. It also provides specific tools you can use to re-evaluate how you approach your work. It’s similar to what I experienced the first time I used the Internet. I thought “That is really cool”. Little did I know at the time how indispensable it would become in my life. Anytime we can view the world differently and that knowledge can add a significant benefit to our lives it is worth it.
6) The immediate non-financial return on investment (ROI) from an Executive MBA program is the contact and connections you make with your classmates. They come from a wide variety of industries and cultures but in many ways they are like minds. They have the same love of learning and need for intellectual stimulation as you do. They wish to acquire a new skill set and view of the world which will further open their field of opportunities. Regarding the long-term ROI I liked the response Hugh O’Neill, the Associate Dean of the Executive MBA program at UNC, gave. MBA programs attract “climbers”, “shifters” and “launchers”. The climbers are already established in a company and wish to move up the corporate ladder. The shifters are those who wish to change their career or move to a different type of job in the same industry in which they currently practice. The launchers are the entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. Each of these types of people wishes to enhance the quality of their life and for that reason alone, for them, the pursuit of an MBA is worth it. Follow this link if you want to see the relationship between an MBA and the financial ROI regarding salary. As a general rule it increases but physicians should note well it can also decrease if they are in the shifter category.