Should Daughter Grab Free MBA Deal Post-College or Work First?

Question: My daughter will be graduating with a degree in Business Management in May. She has a very real chance at receiving a graduate assistant position at her school and receiving her MBA paid for by the college. I have read that an MBA is best received while you are working or after you have at least two years in the workforce. Does she turn down the opportunity and go out in the workforce for two years? Chances are the opportunity will not be there for her in two years.

Thanks for your advice.

It sounds like your daughter may have a fantastic opportunity. If this is also something she WANTS to do, then she should definitely go for it! (And, even if she's on the fence, she should think long and hard before saying no.)

Yes, conventional wisdom does suggest that a couple years in the workforce can be beneficial to an MBA aspirant, largely for three reasons:

1. It improves grad-school admission odds

2. In some cases the employer will pay part or all of MBA tuition

3. The classroom experience may feel more relevant … and thus valuable … to a student who has already had some “real" business experience

If your daughter is able to pursue this free MBA at her current college, she will have already knocked off Reasons 1 & 2.

So I believe that this is too good a chance to pass up. She will also get to try her hand at teaching, which could help her decide more about what she does--or doesn't--want to do down the road.

Probably the biggest bullet item on the minus side of the ledger would be that grabbing this MBA deal would mean that your daughter won't be applying to other programs. This could thus preclude her from attending a more prestigious school, one in a preferable location, or a program with more emphasis on her area of interest, etc. But if she's happy with the program at her current college, it seems as if the pros will far outweigh the potential cons.

So congrats to your daughter (and to you) and good luck to her as she takes her next steps.

(posted 11/20/2012)