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Is 30 Lakhs MBA Worth It?

Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.

In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: the relevance and worth of an MBA in the 21st century.


Should every Indian do an MBA? Is MBA really worth it? Do you need an MBA for a start-up?

Discussion and deliberation over the answers to these questions are perhaps dinner table conversations for most Middle Class Indians. In this career insight, I will be sharing my opinions on this topic while tracing how I concluded. I would be using 2 parameters to support my answer.

1. Career Growth

1.1 Salary

Salary tends to be the primary factor in decision-making regarding career growth. Salary advancement is also the most common and perhaps the most justified reason to pursue an MBA from top Business School. While MBA tends to be an investment in itself, its learning outcomes can help you in the long run.

On the brighter side, if you are on a step or a linear growth curve in terms of your salary, you are pretty sorted in life. In this case, you have stability and growth opportunities. Thus, you have no immediate need to apply to an MBA program.

Though before you make a final judgement, there are other parameters also you should consider such as below-

1.2 Specific Roles

If you want to pivot into specific industry roles without prior experience, MBA can be a good option for you. This is quite similar to my rationale for joining the MBA program at ISB Hyderabad when I had wanted to work at BCG or McKinsey to be employed at an intersection of the private and public sectors.

With working experience under the Government of India, this big jump into a different industry was facilitated by my ISB MBA degree.

1.3 Peer Group

Pivoting from the professional to the more personal reasons to go for an MBA. While many may not realize this but going to an educational institute is all about networking and putting yourself out there. It is a great place for those who are stuck in their social lives, and unable to relate to their peers.

MBA provides a great platform to meet a diverse group of people who make your learnings more holistic by sharing their experiences. You become acquainted with a fresh bunch of peers and alumni, with whom you can share your learnings and connect for future career advancements.

2. Opportunity Cost

As it is well known, MBA is a big investment in form of time as well as money. To put it in perspective, Ivy league degrees cost more than 1 crore. While you are most likely to get a premium job in the USA as an ivy league graduate, it is still a big chunk of money. Nevertheless, your earnings or return of investment in dollars will enable you to clear your debt in about 5 years.

While this sounds like an extremely attractive proposition, there is an opportunity cost to consider. You can not ignore the fact that these 1.3 crores could instead be utilised as investments in the stock market or your venture. It is easy to get blind-sighted by the glamorous assets without considering the rather brighter alternatives.

I will never be able to justify attaining a degree worth a crore. I am a firm advocate of investing in yourself and developing your skills, but there must be a threshold. Of course, I realise that the justification could differ from person to person, but hailing from a middle-class family, it does not work for me. The bottom line for all of us differs, for none of us have the same past or expect the same future.

3. Perks of an MBA

MBA teaches us a lot about things from a variety of areas. The prowess gained in finance statistics, marketing, communication, negotiations and akin are unparalleled. Though, you must keep in mind that most of these skills can be learnt while working in an NGO, public sector firms and other similar forms of employment. Thus, it is best if you only do an MBA if you fit at least one of the three career parameters discussed above and if the opportunity cost for you is not extremely burdensome.

You can not ignore the fact that there are some extremely redundant topics like financial accounting that are taught in MBA programs. They simply have no tangible utility. Yet, my ISB MBA has helped me a great deal in my journey from getting into BCG to studying at Harvard and even starting my venture.

At Global Governance Initiative, we provide alternatives to International MBA education at 1/1000th the cost. We believe in up-skilling and not just granting paper degrees. As Elon Musk said, “There might be too many MBAs running companies.”


Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change


If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.

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