Make It

Why an MBA isn’t worth it, according to this self-made multimillionaire Uber investor

There are plenty of reasons to pursue an MBA — graduates average six-figure salaries and it can be a head start when making a career change.

But don’t assume the degree is always worth getting, says Jason Calacanis, a Silicon Valley angel investor. Calacanis has backed over 150 companies, including six that have become unicorns with valuations over the $1 billion, like Uber and trading platform Robinhood.

“I don’t have an MBA, but I hire a lot of them and I invest in them,” Calacanis tells CNBC Make It.

Still, “I do think that education has the worst value ratio," he says.

Angle investor Jason Calacanis boasts being an early investor in six unicorns - Uber, Robinhood, Desktop Metal, Datastax, Wealthfront and Thumbtack.
Zack Guzman
Angle investor Jason Calacanis boasts being an early investor in six unicorns - Uber, Robinhood, Desktop Metal, Datastax, Wealthfront and Thumbtack.

That's because of the high price of the degree, says Calacanis. MBA programs at top tier business schools can cost over $200,000, and then there's the opportunity cost of lost income during a two-year program. Calacanis believes that money could be better spent elsewhere.

“[With] the $200,000 that you spend on your MBA you could probably start eight different projects — $25,000 each — and by the time you get to the third, fourth or fifth, you will probably have a $10 million or $100 million dollar company,” he says.

Calacanis himself learned by doing. He co-built a blogging platform that was backed by Mark Cuban and later acquired by AOL for $25 million in 2005, according to NBC News.

“Be very careful that you don’t just follow the MBA because you think that that’s going to make you a genius. What makes you a genius and makes you effective, is your ability to learn skills on your own,” he says. “How quickly can you become great at some skill, is the skill.”

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

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