Let me start with the punchline; MBA… definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, 100% boosts your career. Whoever doubts this is either incredibly incompetent or has a different agenda. So your starting point shouldn’t be whether it’s valuable. Because it is. But your starting point should be whether it’s valuable enough that justifies your actual money and time investment and the opportunity cost you create by not working for 2 years. So, let’s find out if an MBA degree is right for you. The way I see it, you gain 2 types of returns by having an MBA degree; the first one is learning.
You obtain a sort of a cohesive understanding of how business works. You learn everything from marketing to business strategy to corporate strategy to accounting. And the second benefit is that You get an increased salary from your current employer. Or get a new job with a higher salary in anew organization. So, let’s talk about them one by one. And see if they are really as beneficial as you may think. By the way, I do have an MBA degree. In fact, it’s from one of the top 10 business schools in Europe.
It’s Cass Business School of City University London. I graduated in, I think, 2012. I was 29 years old at the time. My experience is a great case study for you because you’ll hear about the program’s short-term benefits and long-term benefits. So, please pay attention. Let’s first start with Education. Now, in an MBA degree, you definitely learn a few things you didn’t know before. But I certainly doubt you’ll learn enough to justify the investment.
You will not learn anything that you can learn from books. Do you want to learn strategy? Go read Michael Porter’s books, wanna learn Marketing well, find experts in the field, and read their books. Your professors will teach the same stuff, just more filtered, condensed, and presented with slides and case studies. So, the value isn’t really in the knowledge. MBA is too general for it. It may give you that cohesive business understanding but not specific enough so that you can develop strategies to win. MBA is like a mile wide but an inch deep. You’ll know about segmentation, positioning, fine.. but that’s just too high level.
That’s not what is needed for the majority of corporate professionals to win. Or for entrepreneurs. For example, you learn general marketing, like; positioning and segmentation in MBA, but in the real world, what you need to know is conversions, funnels, funnels, marketing for specific platforms, and digital A/B testing, SEO, PPC, you know… The knowledge you learn at an MBA is really applicable to CMOs or CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. It’s not detailed enough. And the other issue is that the world of business is changing faster than updating their curriculum. So, they are always lagging behind.
In simple terms, MBA definitely doesn’t make you a better employee. It doesn’t make you a superstar performer. I’ve learned this the hard way. After my MBA, I ventured into consulting. First worked with a consulting firm called Accountability, which focused on sustainability consulting. And, in that firm, my MBA sort of holding ground. It was OK. But then, after Accountability, I joined PwCConsulting. PricewaterhouseCoopers. And that’s where shit hit the fan. Excuse my language. I was very confident, you know. I thought I am the shit. I have an MBA degree from one of the best schools in the world.
I spent 2 years and tens of thousands of pounds. I am also coming from another consulting firm. I know what I am doing. I had the shock of my life in my first month. The level of intensity, intellect, knowledge, expertise, action, the thought process those guys play at, it’s just out of the world. It was not something I had ever even thought of. And I am not even talking about managers or partners. I am talking about junior consultants, senior consultants.
Guys who report to me. In my first may be up to 3 months, I failed everything. I failed at consulting, quality client work, in my presentations, and even leadership. My confidence took a beating, you know. This was 5 years ago. So, that’s when I learned the hard way that while an MBA supposedly prepares you for all these top-notch consulting firms or investment banks, the reality is that they don’t.
I mean, fortunately, I adjusted very quickly, and I survived, then I eventually thrived. But even after 5 or 6 years now, I still can forget the shock that I had. It was a shock that lasted over 3 months. OK, I hope this was clear. education quality? don’t expect miracles… Next is the return on investment. So, you get that either through an increase in your current employer’s salary or getting a new job with a higher salary in a news organization.
This is true, and if you are in management consulting, corporate finance, investment banking, and consumer goods, then you’ll probably benefit the most. In fact, if you are smart about just 1 thing, then you can benefit immensely. I am gonna share with you what that 1 thing, just in a minute. But I need to first give you an analogy. Think of your career as a computer. Like an assembled pc. All your previous employers and your schools are like the components that make up that computer.
So, when a buyer looks at the computer, it doesn’t really look at its case, right? You look at its components. You say, oh, it has an Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card, or you say it has an unknown name graphics card from North Korea. This is very similar in your career. The brand name of your previous employers or your business school gives you credibility. And that credibility makes you jump to the next level in your career. But Deniz, why is the brand name important? I mean, you can still be a kick-ass professional, even if you don’t come from big-name employers or schools. So, there are 2 answers to that question. The first one is the obvious one.
Better training, better exposure, more competitive environment, well educated, and experienced team members. This is the obvious one. But there is also a less obvious reason, which is highly true for consulting firms and investment bankers. See, consulting firms essentially sell 2things; they sell their track record in certain work packages, right? Like the experience of the firm. But they also sell your profile. In each proposal we prepare, there is always a detailed section where the consultants’ background goes in. And trust me, that’s usually the first section clients look at. You give a 100-page proposal. The first thing they do is open it up and look at the people.
And that makes perfect sense. Firms don’t exist. They are the only bunch of people put together to deliver certain value adds. It’s people. So, continuing with the same analogy, your resume is nothing more than the brochure of that assembled computer. That means the more brand names you collect as components, the more chances you will have. Why did I give this analogy? It’s because, if you are going to have an MBA degree, the worst decision you can make is to go invest that money and time into a school that doesn’t even have a strong brand name. Because the brand name is the only thing, you’re getting out of it.
That brand name converts into money, not knowledge. Anything below the top 100 MBA programs in financial Times rankings, in my opinion, should be avoided like the plague. And if you want solid returns, then I suggest you stick to only the top 10. Let me share with you why I wanted an MBA degree and how it turned out for my career. See, after I lost my job with Standard & Poor’s back in 2008, I had many opportunities. I had Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and even Bain interested in working with me. But the salaries they offered were not what I was expecting. I was relatively young, and I didn’t have a pretty strong vision for the future.
I didn’t have mentors sort of guiding me. So, I did a pretty stupid thing and joined a no-name local company, which paid me a lot of money. They paid me more than triple of what the big-name employers offered me. I think I was 26. So, I kind of cash in the brand name standard & Poor. And I made it almost close to USD 100,000 salary. It was amazing. I bought sports cars, bought Honda 2000, then BMW M3, and lived a pretty lavish lifestyle for a few years. This continued until when I lost that job in 2010 during downsizing. That’s when things got quite ugly. I was stupid, I had no savings, I spent it all on cars and parties. And that was it.
But I still somehow thought that all those big-name firms would still come and hire me. I mean, they were interested in me just a few years ago. Right? Wrong! I was no longer the “S& P guy” in their eyes. I was a local company guy. They no longer even wanted to have interviews with me. Nothing, the doors were shut. Then I settled for another local company to pay the bills, again a no-name employer. And it was really downhill from there. So, within as little as 3 years, my career was destroyed. It felt like I fell from the champions league down to the UEFA cup. Not even that, even worse, like down to 3rdleague. And that’s what it was.
That’s when I realized that I need a brand name again in my brochure. I knew that even after the MBA, it won’t immediately put me back to the champions league, but it could open more opportunities, which can become a stepping stone to where I want to be. And that’s what happened. I graduated with my MBA, and I joined a well-known but boutique consulting firm specializing in sustainability consulting.
Then, I leveraged that experience to jump to PwC Consulting. OK, that’s it for today. But before I conclude the video, let me briefly talk about the LIG program. If you are following my Site for some time, you’d know that this channel entirely exists to have an opportunity to present my program to you. I strongly recommend you check it out if you’re unemployed or underemployed. Especially Before you consider an expensive program like MBA. Because you may not be aware of certain advanced strategies that will land you those jobs with multinational companies.
Maybe all you need is a quick fix to get the jobs you deserve. The program is not for everyone for sure. But it doesn’t hurt to just take a look. Maybe it can save you from huge investment. Plus, LIG comes with direct online support from me. So, I personally answer all of your questions. It’s pretty awesome. Just check it out. See you next week.