I was pretty surprised to find the following article in the Wall Street Journal. Kiplinger's Personal Finance? Sure. But the Journal? Wow. It's a pretty dark day for B-schools when the Journal starts publishing stories about how they're a waste of money.
If you want a business education, the odds aren't with you, unfortunately, in business school. Professors are rewarded for publishing journal articles, not for being good teachers. The other students are trying to get ahead of you. The development office is already assessing you for future donations. Administrators care about the metrics that will improve your school's national ranking. None of these things actually helps you learn about business.
The article goes on to point out that the education you receive in B-school can be found for free on YouTube, and that the real value of B-school is in the network you develop. So is there a more cost effective way to develop your network than throwing $175,000 at a school? The author seems to think so.
Some of the advice the author gives is pretty much unassailable. Like find the area of the country where your passion lies (Silicon Valley for tech, Hollywood for movies, Nashville for music, etc.) and then move there and live cheaply while building your network. The author also points out that any B-school which isn't in the Top 10 is no longer worth attending on a cost/benefit basis. You can hit Dev Bootcamp for $12,000 and almost double* the starting salary of a freshly-minted MBA after just nine weeks (*2012 statistics).
If you aren't accepted to Harvard, the argument against going to business school becomes even stronger. At least with their Harvard M.B.A.s, less than 5% of the class of 2012 was unemployed three months after graduating. But at the University of Southern California, 23% of 2012 M.B.A. grads were still unemployed three months after graduation. And that's at USC, a fairly well-known school. The return on investment of going to Harvard or another top-10 business school has remained relatively high, but the return on going to lesser schools is very questionable.
I realize this is blasphemy for many on this site. But figures don't lie and liars don't figure. The opportunity cost of B-school is staggering, and when you factor in the actual cost of B-school you probably have to stretch your ROI out over decades to break even.
Or is this way off base? Is the author wrong about Top 10 or Go Home? Do you think this only applies to those fresh out of undergrad, or is it becoming more universal? I realize the MBA is still de rigeuer for the upper echelons of banking, but at some point do you sit down and calculate the odds of reaching those upper echelons? I'm just curious to hear what you guys think.