Business administration is the most popular business degree on the planet. I personally believe this is because most who take it don’t really know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They want to be successful, make money, get some acclaim — whatever. They know they want, or have to do something, so they enter into college and then perhaps when the future’s not clear at the end of their study, they decide “Meh, what the hey, I might as well get an MBA…”
It’s such a vague path of study when you think about it, and you really don’t learn very much that will ever apply to your job. The most profound skill I think business administration leaves you with is the ability to listen, research, study and stick to a somewhat rigid schedule.
These are all valuable, but as an “honors” graduate from a somewhat well-known institution myself, I can tell you this degree just isn’t going to do much for you at the end of it all. I wish I’d never wasted 3 years of my life in business administration, or the additional year in a fast-track college learning skills I foolishly thought would lead me to bigger and better things.
Here’s what I believe are 5 great reasons NOT to get a business administration degree and/or MBA:
Plain and simple. You’re never going to earn back that money. The time you’ve lost, where you could have been applying yourself 100% to learning real-world skills is just too great. Let’s say that the least tuition you can pay is around $4,000 per year. That’s just for the tuition, eh? The big time business schools (Stanford, Yale, Wharton, etc.) can charge upwards of $50,000 a year for a masters or other specialty degree (USCS).
What about all the time you’re wasting studying, partying, hanging out and lounging just because you can? There’s a lot of money getting shelled out, and not much coming back in. And if you’re accumulating debt, and you likely are, you’ll be paying that for many the years that follow — if not the rest of your career like some people end up doing.
2. You’re going to lose the next 4 years of your life in study.
This should be the most scary of all to those who’re considering plunking down a huge load of cash and the next 4 years of your life. Why not dedicate yourself to a plan that involves getting a real-world education, working in business or even traveling and learning more about what makes other people and cultures tick? Either path would be far more valuable to most of you.
Again, if every informed mentor you talk to says you’ll need a specialized degree to do what you want to do (like being a high profile CEO in a Fortune 500 company) then you have to do it. If not, there’s probably a better learning experience outside those college walls, that will also let you get started with your life while you’re doing it.
3. The very name of the course proves you have no idea what you want to do.
Do you want to work in administration when you get that degree in the end? Most who take it, myself included, have no intention of working as an administrator. Of course, certain aspects of your business or J.O.B. will involve administration work, but is that enough justification to spend 2 – 4 years being trained in administration? The course is nothing more than an overview for a position you’ll never actually hold.
If you don’t agree with me now, you certainly will after putting in the time and realizing that very little of what you’ll learn will actually apply to what you end up doing in life. And, that which does (computer classes, marketing, teamwork) are things you could have learned on the fly — while you’re learning how things actually work in the big, bad world of business. Get an economics degree if you have no clue what to do. It’s in a business field and you’ll earn more money when you’re done.
4. You don’t need a business degree to work in business.
Even if you know you want to work in business, most careers, with few exceptions, don’t require a degree of any kind. Unless you just know you want to work at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street (they weigh heavily in favor of brokers with MBAs), you just don’t need to put in all that extra time. If you steer clear of entrepreneurship and decide to get a job, and a big promotion becomes contingent on you getting a degree, you can go back to school at nights for a year or two and fast-track it then. You’ll still be further ahead because you didn’t invest all those extra years chasing a piece of paper.
5. Business administration is the most saturated degree.
This is one of the most important things I wanted to get across. Due to its highly vague and non-specialized nature, business administration is the most popular business course on the planet. Anyone who wants to make a career in business takes it. One out of every five new college grads are a business major (source).
Do you really want think that degree is going to help your case when every other applicant for a job has the exact same paperwork? Why not skip ahead a few years and do it the old fashioned way while earning a real-world education?