When not to do an MBA

Why do an MBA? There are a host of very good reasons why doing an MBA is a brilliant idea. However, there are also some very bad reasons to do an MBA. If you’re considering pursuing an MBA for any of the reasons listed below, you might want to pause and think very carefully before sending in your application form.

Here’s when NOT to do an MBA:

  • When you don’t have a clear goal in mind.

The last thing you want is to aimlessly float through your year at business school. Without a clear career goal in mind —and a road map for how you’re going to get there— pursuing an MBA is probably not a good idea. This is because an MBA can only really help you if you know exactly what you want out of it. You need a clear goal on which to base your specialisation choice, project focus, and mentoring sessions. In fact, without a well-thought-out goal at the ready, you’re unlikely to make it through the admissions process, as this is one of the most obvious questions you’re likely to be asked in your interview.

  • When you’re doing it because you simply don’t know what else to do.

If you’re at a bit of a loose end in your career, doing an MBA might seem like a good way to occupy yourself for a year. Studying is never a bad idea, right? Wrong. When it comes to business school, undertaking a year of study on a whim is a pretty bad idea. You should only do an MBA if it’s clear that the investment of time and money will pay off. (see: doing an MBA still a good investment?)

  • When you don’t have any real-world work experience.

Granted, there are some instances when doing an MBA straight after your undergraduate degree is fine. In general, however, it’s much better to first spend a few years (at least three) working in the ‘real world’ before applying to business school. The reason for this is that actual work experience will help you define your goals and understand how businesses operate. You’ll also be able to bring some useful insights and experience to your studies, which will in turn greatly enrich your learnings.

  • If you’re applying to a low-ranked school or an unknown online institution.

Why do an MBA at all if you’re going to attend a low-quality school or, worse, earn your degree through an online institution no one’s ever even heard of? Employers care about where you earned your MBA.

  • When doing an MBA won’t take you closer to your passion.

Maybe your parents are pressuring you into pursuing an MBA, or maybe your siblings all have one and you feel as though that means you need one, too. But if your real passion is to do something with your life that doesn’t require an MBA, don’t go to business school simply to please your parents. Not only is this a huge waste of time, it’s also likely to end in resentment.

Alright, we’ve covered why you shouldn’t do an MBA. Of course, there are just as many reasons —if not more— why doing an MBA is a good idea. You should pursue an MBA if it is in line with your passion and if it will help you achieve your goals. (Explore more reasons for doing an MBA in this blog)

Is the ESSEC Global MBA for you?

Why do an MBA in two years when you can get a top-quality MBA in just 12 months? The ESSEC Global MBA is a 12-month intensive MBA program with a strong international focus, designed to accelerate your career, grow your network, and teach you valuable business and leadership skills. Students have the choice of six in-depth specialisations and two modern campuses based in Paris and Singapore. To find out more, download our brochure.

If you’re convinced an MBA is the right choice for you, but you’re not sure how to choose the best MBA program, download our free guide, How to find the perfect MBA.

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