I'm just about to complete my third semester of an online MBA program. My career goals are not to work at a major corporation. I'm currently a young (26 years old) General Manager at a 350 person manufacturing company. My division is small (8 people), yet I wear the title. We acquired this business six months ago and my CEO promoted me to General Manager to lead the division.

I started this MBA program at the same time as the acquisition to gain formal training in business. My bachelors is in biomedical engineering. I am not necessarily hoping my MBA gets me a different or better job. I just wanted to learn and not be limited in my options.

But results matter most and I'm already in a position of management. I also have extreme favor within my company.

After 3 semesters of school, I am extremely tempted to drop out and buy textbooks and books off amazon to learn what I am lacking. I've been a student of MT for over a year now, and am curious what people would recommend here.


jrb3's picture
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You started the MBA for a reason.  What was that, and what has changed to bring you to consider dropping out?

Not promoting one choice or another, just promoting making choices with intent.

Early in my career, a buddy wrestled a similar decision about extra training during a rough time in life.  He eventually decided to push through, improving how he studied and worked, for the later rewards the additional knowledge could let him create.  It took a few tries, but the company he currently runs perfectly fits him and what he wants to make.

Kevin1's picture

Hi Daniel,

Here are some thoughts on the value of an MBA that might help you think it through.

Before you quit, consider that in the minds of many employers (rightly or wrongly) an MBA is a qualification

  • for a lifetime and has the potential to serve you well throughout your entire career
  • that can also broaden your future options outside of what you have done before
  • on average, improves your salary  

This means that if, for any reason, you move on from your current company, you would have a potential benefit that the MBA backing provides.

Is all the knowledge of an MBA available elsewhere - yes, maybe and probably not.  

The 'yes' part refers to the formal knowledge.  You absolutely can obtain this from reading books (and other materials) on Strategy, Marketing, Finances, Development, Operational Improvement, Innovation, Decision Making, HR, etc.

The 'maybe' part refers to the part of the MBA when you get to interact with and learn from other people.  In my own MBA, I received a huge amount of eye-opening information from people in other sectors such as Health, Education, Government, Not for Profit, Manufacturing etc.  I've built a much wider network as an added bonus as well.   However, I am fully aware that an online course does not have the same quantity and quality of time for this kind of sharing and relationship building.    You could, 'maybe' gain similar experiences by joining groups of like minded professionals, perhaps using or many other more specific professional groups that may operate in your area.   A really good mentor may also help here, and there are probably many other ways that I can't immediately think of to learn from others.

The 'probably not' refers to the amount of time and effort you would spend during an MBA critically analysing aspects of your own, your business or other businesses, applying the formal knowledge principals to what you observe, and writing up conclusions.   Without the formal need to hand in such assessment tasks as part of the course, this 'applied' aspect of the MBA is less likely to occur and thus many of the concepts may not have the chance to 'embed' into your way of working.

Of course, you have to evaluate all of these for their relevant importance to yourself, your situation, and where you want to go in the future.

Also consider 

  • What will it cost you to complete now both in time, money?
  • What else could you be doing with this time and money?  Is that more valuable to you?
  • Can you pick this up and do it in the future at some point in time?  What might it cost you later?

Hope this helps a little

Kind regards