Going back to school was not an easy decision. While to many it may have seemed like I jumped into it without a lot of thought, the opposite is true. I knew I wanted to get my MBA, but the decision was not as simple as “I want it.” Not only was I faced with the reality that I would have far less free time to do the things I enjoy, but I was taking on a very expensive endeavor that I would be paying for. I had to consider whether the investment of time and money was going to make a significant impact on my career down the line. Ultimately, I decided that the investment was worth it, and so I started my journey. However, it didn’t take long for me to encounter people who felt that I had made the wrong decision. Comments ranged from the confused but harmless”Wow, that’s a lot of work” to the more direct “I don’t think a MBA adds anything.”
“It’s not worth it”
“It doesn’t mean anything”
“It won’t help in your career”
You made the wrong decision.
They may not have realized it, but that is what all of those comments were really saying. I’ve heard this a lot over the last year, and for the most part I’ve just smiled and moved on. Their comments have no impact on my success and frankly, I don’t care if they think it was the wrong choice. Yet, I would be lying if I said a few of the comments didn’t bother me a little; in particular those that came from people in my industry. There was more than one “good for you, but” conversation that took place with colleagues. As someone who is still young in an industry, those sentiments can be discouraging when they come from someone who has been successful in the field you wish to excel in.
Despite some less than enthusiatic responses to my choice, I have pushed on. I have chosen to let those comments roll off of me and keep my eye on the prize. I realize that going back to school is not for everyone and everyone is entitled to their own views. However, in defense of everyone who has chosen to go back to school, I need to say
Stop telling me it’s not worth it.
I debated on writing this post. I generally try to avoid offending people and I try not to call anyone out unless necessary, but I think it is incredibly unfair for someone to negatively comment on another person’s efforts to do something positive. If you don’t think grad school is worth it, that’s fine. Keep those sentiments to yourself unless asked. The student you’re talking to is already exhausted and wondering what they got themselves into, they don’t need your negativity on top of it. Maybe an advanced degree won’t make a huge difference, but maybe it will.
Further, if you are in a program and not paying for it, please stop telling the people who are paying for it that it’s a waste. Please stop flaunting that you wouldn’t be doing it if you had to pay for it. Once again, you are entitled to your opinion, but that type of statement is a slap in the face. You are being provided the same opportunity that they are striving for without the associated financial burden, and you choose to crap all over it. Put yourself in their position and imagine what that feels like.
This may come off like a bit of a rant, but that is not how it is intended. It is simply a PSA for everyone who has a grad student in their life. We’re working hard, many of us while also working full time jobs, and we can use the support of our friends, family, and colleagues in getting through it. You may not agree with our choice or our reasons, but please don’t rain on our parade.