Abandon Job Search for MBA?

Q.  I’ve had miserable luck with my PR job search and need to decide shortly whether I start work next month on my MBA.  Even though I desperately want a PR career, that doesn’t seem to be happening so do you think the business degree will help me long term?  -SA

A.  Dont think a master’s in business administration degree will guarantee a job.  Like PR, there’s plenty of competition for business jobs.  Many financial institutions earlier this year reneged on once-attractive offers to graduating MBAs.  About the same number of students are enrolled in MBA programs as are seeking PR degrees.  In the U.S. alone, colleges graduated 110,000 MBAs this year.  (In Chicago, more than 15,000 students currently are enrolled in the city’s 25+ MBA programs). 

Northwestern University professor Clarke Caywood says the return on investment (ROI) for an MBA is questionable unless it is part-time.  However, he believes MBA degrees from top schools still have cache and may warrant the “opportunity costs.”  Dr. Caywood advocates taking some part-time evening MBA courses, which he says “may be enough to give you a competitive edge”. 

Since you are interested in PR, Dr. Caywood emphasizes that MBA programs do not offer PR classwork.  He notes that Northwestern’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate degree offers more PR than any business school.  However, he acknowledges that even the IMC degree is no guarantee for employment in today’s market.  (Northwestern and other colleges offer evening IMC programs). 

In this economic environment, it is wise to calculate the costs of a graduate degree to determine at what point you might recoup that investment.  Clarke and I agree that part-time is a logical option for many, plus it allows you to continue pursuing a full-time position in the field you love.

5 comments on this post.
  1. Marketing Sociologist:

    I have had an MBA for 20 years. I practice public relations. Jobs and clients go to the 20 years old blonds like in the movie Bruno. Employers and clients want “feel good” and not results that MBAs bring.

    Here’s a link about another practitioner going for an MBA http://www.valleyprblog.com/professional-development/the-pr-guys-mba-so-far/

    So if you’re having trouble finding a PR job, I can assume you are not 1) 20 something 2) female, preferably blond 3) an intern

  2. Emily luiz:

    marketing sociologist – Really, REALLY? Maybe that attitude is why clients aren’t lining up for your services…. Anyways my parents are pushing me to go back to school for my MBA but given my overall career goals and what I want to get out of an MBA makes me realize that a poor economy is not a good reason to jump the gun

  3. Marketing Sociologist:

    Thanks for the comment, Ms. Luiz. Is this your LinkedIn profile, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/emily-luiz/6/75a/92

    You’ll be making $100,000 per year in a month! Forget the MBA – you’re every employer’s dream.

    Of course, in 20 years when no one will hire you and you’re without work, let me know why; and what your attitude will be then.

    Not picking on you – I’m envious. You have what every client and employer wants.

  4. Jackie:

    Getting involved in an MBA program can be an extremely beneficial move for an individual, and can help better them in their career. There are so many different MBA programs to choose from, and making sure you choose one from an accredited school is important. Adelphi University offers a great amMBA program, which allows the student to take their course in the morning hours, so that they can still be in the workforce full time. To learn more information about the amMBA program, you can visit http://www.adelphi.edu/amMBA/ .

  5. Tessa Maciejaszek:

    I was basically in the same situation as you are now a few weeks ago. I just graduated from college in May and have yet to find a job in PR. I was debating on going back for my master’s, but after speaking with some former professors and PR professionals, I decided to not go to grad school.

    If you’re main reason for going back to school is because you can’t find a job in your field, then that’s the wrong reason. If you really wanted that master’s degree, you wouldn’t be debating on whether you should go or not. I think if you went back to school and weren’t 100% on it, then that process would be a long and miserable one.

    The best advice I got was “Follow your heart. Have patience. Try new things. Something will turn up.”

    Hope this helps and good luck! :-)

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