What's your Problem?

Is this a good time to invest in an MBA?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Q: I recently took voluntary redundancy and used the money to travel around the world for three months, and I've now moved back in with my parents (I'm 27). I've spent the last six weeks looking for jobs in marketing and have got nowhere, and I'm considering studying for an MBA. If I can borrow the money, it could mean I re-enter the jobs market on the upswing. Do you think this is a good idea? It's a considerable financial outlay.

A: You're unlikely to appreciate what follows - and given the flimsy nature of the evidence on which it's based, my analysis may be unfair and unfounded. But I suspect you may be choosing to turn your back on reality.

Despite unemployment figures still climbing, and with the relatively young often being the hardest hit, you didn't go straight back into the job market; you took your redundancy money and went travelling. And now, after only six weeks looking for a job, you're seriously considering taking on a huge debt to fund an MBA.

It sounds quite responsible and, indeed, it could well be. But you need to be absolutely clear in your own mind exactly why you are doing it. My guess is that you're simply buying time - at least in part; that you're postponing that moment of truth when you need to find a proper job, get back to work and set about rebuilding your career.

To give up looking for a job after a mere six weeks is defeatist. If you reveal such frail determination in your applications and your interviews, it will certainly count against you.

I'm reluctant to dissuade anyone from becoming more knowledgeable and better qualified. But before you embark on such a time- and cash-consuming venture as an MBA, do please be certain of your true motive.

- Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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