When an MBA is not worth it? And What are the Best MBA Alternatives?

An MBA is one of the most sought-after degrees as it is believed to offer both money and career growth. But, how to decide if an MBA is right for you, and what what are the more feasible and cheaper alternatives to an MBA?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Over the period MBA has become one of the most sought-after degrees for the youth as it is believed to offer both money and reputation. In India, management is one of the top stream chosen by the bachelor degree holders for pursuing higher education. A foreign MBA is even more desirable for a huge majority of the Indian students & professionals. After all, an MBA degree from a foreign business school can really do many wonders for you. However getting an MBA degree has just become a blind rat race. There are many articles on the internet on if an MBA is worth it. In this post, we will discuss how to decide if an MBA degree is right for you, and when an MBA abroad is not worth it. Additionally, we will also look at the best alternatives to an MBA

MBA definitely without a doubt boosts your career. MBA provides a cohesive learning of how business works and you also get an increased salary, provided the degree is completed from the right institute (and not necessarily the best institute).

But your judgment point should be whether it is valuable enough to justify your money and time investment and the actual money you may have lost by not working for one-two years while completing the degree. An MBA from a decent foreign business school will cost at least INR 40. If you are targeting the top schools, you would be looking at something between INR 60 Lacs and 1.5 Crore.

It is you who need to decide, what you need the degree for? Is it to move ahead in your career or change career paths, or is it just another advanced degree for your own joy and development, maybe be just because everyone else is doing it.

How to Decide if an MBA Degree is Right for You?

Ask the Right Questions to the Right People

Approach successful professionals in the business world and talk to them, find out the degrees they have and how much and when the degrees helped them to advance in their career. This will help you to understand if MBA is the degree applicable to your circumstances and the return you’d get on your investment. Or if there is any other course you could opt for instead which will help you grow in the right direction.

If the Employer Recognizes the Degree

Try to approach your boss and understand if management degree will help you to grow, given the current role you are in and the role you want to move into.


Only you can judge your circumstance and decide how and when MBA is right for you. In reality, work experience is the key to solve real situation problems, but an advanced degree wouldn’t be a bad choice, it gives you an edge over graduate peers, and places you in a better position for the job profile.

Important Aspects to Consider Before Enrolling for Full-Time MBA

MBA gives you a cohesive business understanding but not specific enough to help you build business strategies to win. In the real world, you need to know conversions, funnels, marketing for specific platforms, etc. The knowledge you learn at MBA is more applicable to top management, who need to have bird’s eye view which you probably don’t at this point in time.

The world of business is changing faster than their ability to update their curriculum, so they are always lagging behind. In simple words, MBA doesn’t make you a better employee or a superstar performer.

The level of intensity, knowledge, expertise, thought process, people at work with experience is seen to have better than people with just an MBA degree.

While an MBA is believed to compare you with top management companies, in reality, they don’t.

When Not to Go for an MBA?

1. Escaping from Current Job

One of the major triggers for generating the thought of pursuing MBA is unhappiness at the current role. You could be unhappy with the job profile, career growth, salary, colleagues, politics etc. But, are you sure that an MBA will make you happier?

2. Wrong Timing

If you are in your very early stage of the career (say less than 2 years of professional work experience), an MBA might not be right for you; I personally don’t recommend going for an MBA for freshers at all. Similarly, the MBA in the 30s could also be the wrong move.

3. Lack of Clarity about Career Goals

When you aren’t sure what you really want from the MBA program or the business school experience. Don’t assume that you will gain clarity once you join the MBA program.

4. Jobs and Permanent Residency Abroad

Another very popular and wrong concept is to do an MBA abroad for getting jobs or permanent residency in a foreign country. Firstly, don’t treat a study program as the gateway for getting PR. Secondly, there is nothing wrong to expect high-paying jobs in a foreign country. But, when you start looking at the business schools as job placement agencies, instead of educational institutions, the consequences could be against you.

5. Not Having the Right Profile for Good Schools

Don’t go for mediocrity if you don’t have the right profile. There is a huge risk in choosing business schools that don’t have any brand name. For STEM subjects, a brand name might not affect too much. But, if you are thinking of an MBA, the brand name does matter.

Best MBA Alternatives

Keep Working

Working in one single organization can help a person in getting lots of practical experience, trust, and support from the company. He can earn enough money and respect within the organization. He will even get many considerations while promoting or any kind of salary hikes. Working at one place will always be a beneficiary factor to the person.

Work with Career Coach or Mentor

Working with the Mentor can teach you so many things about the industry. There are many tactics and tricks which are known only by the mentors and can be taught only through mentorship. Excelling in one particular subject is not an easy thing. Working with a mentor can help you in learning much more than an MBA graduate. MBA cannot make a person Pro’ in less time. Working with a mentor can help in climbing the ladder of the career.

Taking Online Courses

As we can see, technology is quite fast. One has to be updated well with the changing situations. To cope up with this, one can take up online courses or go for weekend classes. This can brush up the existing skills and even add new skills to the list. In today’s world, even the reputed colleges provide online teaching and training programs to the merit students. This gives an opportunity to learn new things easily and conveniently. Online courses save a lot of time and effort if a person really wants to grow in career.

Part-time MBA or Executive MBA

If you really think MBA certificate matters more to grow in career then pursuing part-time MBA can be a better option. Part-time is not completely distance education. Part-time MBA helps the student to study and attend the classes on weekend’s i.e on Saturday and Sundays. Part-time MBA helps the student to study at their convenient time and complete their degree. Many reputed colleges allow and help the students to do their Part-time MBA’s which help in going further in their career.

You could also go for Online MBA or Executive MBA (EMBA) if you are having more than 10 – 15 years of professional experience.

Starting a Business

The best alternative for MBA is doing our own business. Business is one such thing which doesn’t require any kind of educational background. Skills, vision, and passion are more than enough to run a successful business.

Understanding the clients and customers help in growing the business faster. Initially business can be a little risky but ROI (Return On Investment) is faster in business. This is the most satisfying job that one can go for it.

If you are not willing to take entrepreneurial route, you can take the intrapreneurial route. The entrepreneurial skills can be learned even if you are working as an intrapreneur.

Start Working as a Freelancer

You can even start a side-gig while being in your full-time job. A side-gig can enrich your career and experience. It helps you to learn new skills, expand your network, improve your personal brand, and increases your confidence as well. More importantly, it will also make you better and happier at your current job.

Diversity Your Transferable Skills

Learn to Sell

The ultimate goal of any business venture is to ‘sell’. If you are good at selling, you will always have a competitive edge over others.

Masters IT Skills

Even if you are not in the IT domain, skills in coding and analytics can take you a long way.

When writing code, the programmer has to first understand exactly what the software needs to do. He or she then has to use the grammar and syntax of the programming language very precisely. This will also improve your problem-solving and decision-making skills.

In today’s job market, knowledge of analytics is very beneficial. This is a great skill to differentiate yourself from the average performers. You can always start with picking up the advanced functionalities of MS-Excel.

Learn a Foreign Language

Language is a core cultural element and speaking the same language is a great way to gain the trust and confidence of your clients and customers. Hence, knowing a foreign language can help you to become the star-employee. You could even end up relocating to a foreign country.

Keeping the global scenario in mind, knowledge of Chinese (Mandarin), French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, German or Arabic can be extremely useful.


So, as you can see, there are many excellent MBA alternatives. The basic thing is that you first need to decide your career objective or goal. Then try to evaluate if MBA is the right vehicle for you to reach the destination in the stipulated time and according to your budget.

If you are in a hurry to reach somewhere and there is a huge traffic, your own vehicle or an Uber/Ola cab would do almost the same job. A chopper might help you, but is that in your budget? You might think of taking a walk (or run as fast as you can). But, that could be tiring and doesn’t guarantee that you can make it in time.

You might also like the following articles:

MBA in USA vs Canada vs Europe vs Asia-Pacific – Eligibility, Costs, Top Schools, Jobs, and Immigration

How to Stay Competitive in the 21st Century Job Market (Part 2)

MBA vs MS Business Analytics

How to Fund MBA in USA

Originally published at www.stoodnt.com

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


3 Ways to Receive Top Quality Education When You Are Over 30

by Dasha Kroshkina

Ten Reasons and Benefits To Pursuing An MBA Degree In Healthcare

by Rudyard

Are You Considering an MBA? Answer these 2 Questions First!

by Wallet Squirrel
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.