Natural Hair and Other Kinky Stuff

Is the cost of B-School worth it?

Originally written Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nearly a year ago, I started investigating MBA programs. I utilized the web, seminars, MBA tours, friends and associates to gain more information about business school and the application process. Sure, I knew that it would be competitive but I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. GMAT and GRE courses range from $250-$1500. Transcripts cost about $8 each and application fees range from $50-$100. Like really?! Campus visits and interviews  cause potential students to incur costly travel fees. In short, pursuing an MBA is an expensive decision even before you granted admission.
However, obtaining an MBA  usually yields a positive return on investment (ROI) but the amount of debt that is thrown a student’s way is sickening. Well…to me it is. When I looked at a price tag that was equivalent to buying a 5 bedroom house in the great state of Texas, I immediately felt uneasy. Perhaps my hesitation comes from a place of caution.

See… I am from humble beginnings. No sliver spoon,  nor a bronze or metal one for that matter. No free meals. Multiple jobs. I’ve witnessed how someone’s financial situation can shift drastically. Thus, I’m cautious about being plagued with debt. I can handle some debt but not the amount most Ivy Leaguers have. I understand that a graduate degree is an investment. Education creates opportunity.  Having certain b-school names listed on a resume is like having a seal of approval. I get it. But it’s still a game. Period.

Some schools are running business programs well…just like a business. I’m no math whiz but I’m sure 120k per student leaves some profit margin. Scholarships are slim. Competition is fierce. And if you are on a budget, you will quickly find yourself crossing more items of your list.Lately, several top-tier business programs have been promoting diversity but I don’t believe that concept can be fully addressed without addressing the financial state of most minority applicants.  The financial situation of minority candidates is not the only factor that contributes to the lack of diversity at prestigious schools, but it’s certainly a big one.

That’s why programs like Minority Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT) and The Consortium are so great. In fact, they are necessary to help increase the enrollment and success of minorities in business school and the workforce.

Now it wouldn’t be fair for me to rant without acknowledging that there are several intelligent yet, economically disadvantaged students of all races that successfully complete degrees at top business programs. It can be done despite the cost. However, it’s just one more hurdle for people who already have enough to jump over.

But hey that builds character, teaches perseverance, and commitment….life lessons that one may not get in any classroom.


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