Getting an MBA represents an extremely large investment of money, as well as time and effort. The tuition for a two-year program may be Rs. 4,00,00 to 15,00,000 or more, and add to this the income forgone for the two years and the promotions at jobs foregone as well. Books, computer hardware and software costs, travel to and from the program, and other assorted expenses may add thousands more. A one-year program may cost 50 to 65 percent as much as this, given the often higher annual tuition at such programs.

But as often is the case, these estimated numbers by the business schools tend to be conservative. They rarely include the inevitable 3% to 5% increase in tuition during a student’s second year. And they tend to underestimate the “personal costs” of attending an elite MBA program, from expensive dinners out with friends to traveling to ski resorts over long weekends with new student friends.

Is an MBA worth this large sum? Although not everyone will be finan­cially better off from getting an MBA, those attending the top MBA pro­grams are highly likely to be. In fact, almost no one who attends a top program ends up regretting the experience. An interesting contrast is pro­vided by American law schools, of whose graduates a majority are sorry they ever went.

The payoff is partly a matter of increased earnings. It is also a matter of increased career options, increased confidence that one can do a given job ex­tremely well, increased status and increased security as no matter what happens there are jobs avail­able for people from top schools. In addition, most people feel they lived life more intensely at business school, met the most in­teresting people they ever have known, and formed their closest friendships there. It is therefore probably a mistake to view the decision to get an MBA on a purely financial basis, despite the sums involved.

I may be biased because I my successful MBA students keep giving me nice inputs, so I believe that an MBA at any stage of life for anyone with any profile is beneficial as it gives you a steeper career graph always.

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