Thursday, June 26, 2008

Go to college, get a degree, success is assured!

How much is an education worth? What is the best way to reach your financial goals?

I once embarrased myself in a staff meeting by blurting out "Is that all an MBA is worth?"

At the time I was feeling a little stuck in my job. The salary was not bad, but I was not seeing any opportunities for advancement in my near future. I had been contemplating going back to school for an MBA and trying to decide if the dollar cost of the degree, added to the personal cost to my health, and the family-life cost of time away from my family is worth the potential increase in my career advancement prospects. When I heard my manager practically drooling over the prospect of hiring an MBA for an open position, it got my attention. The position in question is a business analyst, who would be paid $40,000 to $60,000 a year. He felt he was getting the best qualified candidate. My thought was why would an MBA accept a $40,000 a year job? Shouldn't they be able to do better than that?

Today I received an advertising email from a degree mill. You know, those on-line "get your degree fast" programs? Since they are trying to entice me to spend my money with them, I would expect their marketing people to put some tantalizing, sweet salary numbers in their ad to get me all excited about getting my MBA online. Well, I have to conclude either the marketing people are really dumb, or most business graduates are just not earning a lot of money.

Here is the deal: If you have a business degree, they tell me the average salary is $52,888. BUT if you get their MBA, your average salary might be $74,038!!!!

I guess compared to McDonalds or Walmart, that looks pretty good. But coming from the high tech industry where even the "monkeys" in our profession earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year, this fails to excite me. My goal is a comfortable 6 figure income with plenty of time to reflect and relax.

So no, an MBA is not in my future. I'm exploring a couple of different ways to better leverage my time and improve my earnings. I'll continue to share these with you in future blogs.