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Will getting an MBA improve my prospects of climbing up the corporate ladder faster ?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] at Metaa year ago

Always been on the fence here whether an MBA helps me boost my visibility, help me learn more business skills and builds a well rounded profile than "you're just another average software engineer" which could help me get into management track and above faster than my peers?

In other industries, having an MBA is a requirement, but not so much in tech yet, apparently.

Happy to hear back thoughts form folks about this with some recommendations



  • 4
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    Android Engineer @ Robinhood
    a year ago

    Generally once you're in a fairly notable large tech company, getting an MBA won't get you that much yield as an engineer. The skills needed to grow and promote you don't align with the MBA program and will potentially take a significant amount of your time, which makes you more susceptible to Meta's up-or-out.

    If you want to grow faster, you should look to work more closely with your manager to fine-tune your growth plan or find strong mentors/role models that you can emulate. If your immediate goal is to get to senior, there's lots of resources on Taro and a Tech Lead & mentorship event tomorrow that might help paint a clearer picture of your growth.

  • 8
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    Head of Engineering at Capgemini
    a year ago

    Coming from a business background pre-tech, I think there are much better ways to get the same / better benefits of an MBA for a smaller opportunity cost.

    Quick breakdown of opportunity cost:

    • Tuition: $ outflow; could be ~$200K, especially for more "prestigious" schools and if you're an international student
    • Time: 2 years; hard to quantify here, but I actually think this is the biggest cost
    • Opportunity cost (purely financial): heuristic is 2X what you're earning now plus some buffer for job search after graduating

    It comes down to 3 things people look for when pursuing an MBA for career advancement:

    • Signaling to bypass gatekeeping: there are notable industries that do this such as management consulting, investment banking, private equity, etc. My general advice is to stay away from obtaining those jobs the "regular" way by trying to pattern match the signals at a great cost to yourself. Instead, the $ and time spend on an MBA is more than enough for the amount of networking, building a public body of work, etc. to break in
    • Learn "business" skills: I can say confidently that it's an extremely overloaded term. There are skills such as understanding supply & demand, reading financial statements, managing people, all of which fall into the "business realm". The fastest way to educate yourself on those things is to go start a business (it doesn't have to be intensive, just setup the bare minimum LLC, make 1 marketing copy, get 1 customer, make your first dollar of revenue). You'll hit about 70% of the things you need to know just from doing this. Of course the theory is freely accessible online.
    • Build your network: For an MBA I say it makes much less sense vs. undergrad. It's generally advisable to do an undergrad degree to not have to fight too much of an uphill battle, so the opportunity cost is much smaller. You might meet some interesting people and build some connections, but it's a crapshoot of sorts since you're entering a pool of students that the admissions team filtered through. I would much prefer to have more agency in terms of who I aim to build relationships with. For example, I'm doing some content creation right now, so I try to interact with others are doing the same. Similar idea by answering questions here to get better at coaching and mentorship. Your connections will be much more targeted to what you actually want to pursue.

    Overall, the resources covered in the opportunity cost is more than enough for multiple at bats to compensate for the 3 perceived benefits listed above. Adjust +/- based on your own situation, but it is pretty hard for an MBA to come out ahead.

  • 13
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    Software Engineer @ Tesla
    a year ago

    I'll share as someone who's in an MBA program right now.

    I've spoken to a handful of hiring managers in my company and the company-specific answer I generally receive is this:

    • It helps if you have little experience but want to show that you're committed to leadership/management path

    I personally chose to do an MBA because it aligned with my other goals along with wanting to move into management.

    But here's what I've been gaining from my MBA courses if that helps you narrow down your decision:

    • How financials in business work
    • How business strategies are evaluated and determined
    • Investigating how companies work through case studies
    • Fundamentals of marketing/finance/accounting and other business departments
    • How to work in a team and exercise your leadership skills
    • Access through a huge network, Alumni love connecting and helping each other out

    Hot take but I think the name brand of the MBA you pursue does matter since it's the connections and environment that you immerse yourself in that will provide the most value. The content I learn for my coursework is literally available online. So, I would take that into consideration as well.

    Hope that helps!

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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