Leadership

3 reasons you should get an MBA (and 2 reasons you shouldn't)

After wrapping up undergrad, it's becoming increasingly popular for students to return to school for a graduate degree in business.

For many, however, the opportunity to get an MBA comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few pros and cons to consider.

PROS

1. Hiring is even higher in 2017

A study released by the Graduate Management Admission Council earlier this year has some great news for prospective MBA students, and for those graduating next month: Hiring is on an upward trend yet again.

The research shows 79 percent of employers expect to hire MBA graduates this year, according to Poets & Quants. That's up over 10 percentage points from 2016 when 68 percent of the same companies hired candidates with MBAs.

Commencement ceremonies at the Harvard Business School campus in front of Baker Library, in Boston, MA.
Rick Friedman | Corbis | Getty Images
Commencement ceremonies at the Harvard Business School campus in front of Baker Library, in Boston, MA.

2. Alums highly recommend it

A 2014 study that surveyed 21,000 business-school alums found that the majority of them would enroll in business schools if given the opportunity to do it all over again.

The number is especially high among students who graduated during tough economic times. According to the study, "95 percent of recession-era graduates rate the value of their MBA or master's degree in business as good to outstanding, compared with 94 percent of those graduating in other years."

3. There are tons of networking opportunities

As with many higher education programs, networking is a huge plus to getting an MBA. As business school professor and MBA grad Chris Szpryngel explains in an article for Wired, it's the people a student meets that make pursuing the degree worth the time, effort and money.

"The degree is important, no doubt, but success is also rooted in how students capitalize on the opportunities during their MBA studies that can make the difference," he writes. "Specifically, the student's ability to network efficiently with the right people, in and out of the classroom."

He adds that ideally students should network with both peers and professors. That extra effort can lead to internship and job opportunities after graduation.

CONS:

1. The costs keep rising

A major reason to think twice before getting an MBA is the extravagant price. In fact, many top schools are advising students to set aside $200,000 for the programs.

Four schools above that price include New York University's Stern School of Business, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Columbia Business School.

And costs don't appear to be getting any lower.

2. Fewer CEOs hold MBAs

For those looking to run a company, an MBA may not be the way to go, at least according to a recent study. "Route to the Top" was put together by executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. The study examined the number of CEOs in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany with MBAs.

Notably, just 35 percent of U.S. CEOs have an MBA, which is down from 42 percent the year before. Five years ago, nearly half of executives in the top spot held the degree.

The degree is viewed as less necessary these days. "Over time, boards have moved away from giving strong consideration to academic credentials of CEO candidates, except in particular instances," Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and co-managing partner of the global CEO & Board Practice, said in a statement. "Much more important are key experiences relating to the transformation of an operation or responding effectively to disruption."

See also:
7 ways to get the most out of an MBA
These are 10 of the top business majors graduating this year
A self-made millionaire says this trait is more valuable than an MBA