It is safe to say my mid-twenties were a tumultuous time full of uncertainty and job hopping. Having graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in business management I found myself with limited employment opportunities. Fortunately for me I had very generous parents and no school loans from my undergraduate study. All of a sudden I decided I needed a master’s degree; yes that was it! I just didn’t have enough schooling. One more shinny diploma on the wall and I would be way more competitive than other candidates!
Well not really. Naively I took out approximately eighteen thousand dollars in financial aid. The loans were federal; though the servicing company has changed several times. I cringe every time I think about these loans because I am now in my thirties and still trying to pay them off. Ironically I’m unsure how the loans are amortized because it seems like I pay an awful lot in interest; not so good for an accountant with a consumer lending background. Anyways, so I took out these loans and gruelingly worked full-time and went to school at night. It was a tough experience but I knew it would pay off in the end.
Well not really. In my opinion my MBA hasn’t made me more competitive. My rationale maybe a little pessimistic and negative, but I have to be honest. Getting a job-for most people-is really about friendships, networking, and politics. It isn’t so much about hard work; that is my perception of most contemporary workplaces. While I am proud to be able to put an MBA on my resume it hasn’t been a major determinant in my success. Without connections or friendships I achieved five promotions in five years with my former employer.
My schooling had nothing to do with it. Through merits and hard work I was fortunate enough to advance my career. I didn’t use entitlement, friendships, and or anything else other than the quality of my work. Most of the places I’ve worked have been so political and petty advancement was a function of attrition; those who actually survive the war of attrition win. For those still interested in applying for financial aid I suggest visiting the US Department of Education website and USA.gov website; among others to conduct some due diligence.
I would advise those seeking higher education to first save the money and then get the degree. Or work for an employer with a tuition reimbursement program. The important thing is to start working. You may find out you don’t need an advanced degree to achieve success. Diplomas are not as valued as they once were.