A big question for many engineers is “should I get my MBA?” Dan Miller, a Career Coach and mentor of mine, addressed this same question recently from one of his readers (http://www.48days.com/2014/05/14/will-an-mba-open-all-the-doors/). I think with an MBA, or any advanced degree, you need to question why? Why do you want to get the degree? Is because you love to learn, or maybe you believe you need it to move up the corporate ladder, or for the networking aspect? An MBA is a huge investment, not only financially, but also in time. It is important to look at the opportunity cost of this investment. When I was at the point in my career where many of my friends (and even my husband) were getting their MBAs, I asked myself if it was worth the opportunity cost and asked why I wanted to get an MBA. The real answer was I didn’t want to give up my free time for a degree that didn’t have a specific purpose for my future. Instead of getting my MBA I worked hard on differentiating myself at work by taking on tasks that were more than my normal work assignment. This worked well for me in advancing my career and I was able to use my free time for other things that fulfilled me like volunteering for organizations I believe in.
There is no right or wrong answer to whether you should get an MBA. The real right answer is that you should find a way to differentiate yourself in the workplace. In the end, it isn’t just the MBA that will differentiate you from others, but the extra things that make you extraordinary. Here are some ideas on how to be extraordinary.
- Making suggestions or implementing extra projects that will save your company money
- Having a high Emotional Quotient (EQ) and being the easiest person to work with on a team
- Focusing on developing a specific skill within your field – become an expert
- Exhibiting leadership skills either in your current role, or by taking on extra leadership assignments
Wishing you the best as you embark on your career journey!