business schools take into consideration when determining what type of students are most likely to succeed at that school. The study found that “business admissions use different processes ranging from review of undergraduate grade point average (GPA); transcript analysis that reviews the type of courses taken, trends and progress over time; level of analytical and quantitative skill required in current and past professions; recommendations; and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)” (Fish, Wilson, 2009, p. 146). The study also found that other factors, including age, were tested as well and that each factor “yields varying results” (p. 146). From a financial viewpoint, the older the student is when beginning the graduate program, the less time is available to recoup the dollars spent on the education. For example; if Ben were in his early 40’s instead of late 20’s the money spent on the graduate program would have to be recouped within a 20 — 25-year time frame, instead of a 30 — 40-year time frame that he currently is facing.
2. Other factors that could influence Ben’s decision include the prestige of obtaining a MBA as well as the perceived factor that such a degree lends itself to expertise in the business world. Ben would also likely receive promotions over other individuals without a MBA. An MBA might also provide Ben with additional information and educational expertise allowing him to accomplish goals and objectives that might not be possible without a MBA.
3. From a strictly financial point-of-view, Ben would be much better off spending the $130,000 for a two-year program. Since Ben will be earning an additional $15,000 per year, and he is only 28 years old, he has plenty of time to recoup the added expenditures of $55,000. He could recover financially within a 5-year time frame.
4. Ben is correct in his assertion that he needs to evaluate the future value of his choices. An evaluation can include financial as well as non-financial factors, and it is appropriate to include all the factors in the evaluation. Determining whether one can actually take the time and apply the discipline necessary to complete the program is an important factor that should not be left out. After all; the financial rewards and incentives will not matter one whit, if Ben does not bring to fruition the graduate degree.
5. From a strictly financial viewpoint, Ben’s indifference would only come about if his salary was much lower than the anticipated $90,000. If his tax rate is an additional 5% then his salary after graduation would have to be at least $60,000 to make any type of difference at all in his current status. When one takes into account the fact that Ben is shelling out $130,000 to get a MBA, then one would normally subtract that amount from any increase. If Ben’s salary was only $60,000 then his breakeven point in years worked would be almost 20 years. That would certainly cause a person to be at least a little indifferent in changing jobs as Ben is contemplating. As one recent article espoused “now more than ever, every decision (financial) counts” and “those who manage their business decisions will do well” (Snyder, 2010, p. 57).
If what the articles states as truth, is true; then Ben needs to carefully think about his future and whether it should (or should not) include a graduate MBA program.
6. If Ben were to borrow the money and pay a relatively low rate of interest (5.4%) then it is likely that his decision would still be to get the MBA. However, paying 5.4% on a $130,000 debt is still a hefty endeavor. His payments over a 20-year time frame are approximately $890 per month which translates into almost $9,700 per year. Even if Ben earns $90,000 per year he will only see approximately $63,000 per year: subtracting the $9,700 leaves him with spendable cash in the amount of $53,300â€¦that’s only $16,000 more per year than his current salary (after taxes). At that point, Ben might start to wonder if it is worth two years of his life to pursue a graduate degree.
Fish, L.A. & Wilson, F.S.; (2009) Predicting performance of MBA students: Comparing the part-time MBA program and the one-year program, College Student Journal, Vol. 43, Issue 1, pp. 145 — 160
Snyder, G.; (2010) How to survive the new normal, DVM: The Newsmagazine of Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 41, Issue 11, pp. 56-58
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