Five years ago, I enrolled into graduate school at Baldwin-Wallace College (Berea, Ohio) to obtain my MBA and also to obtain the remaining credit hours that I needed in order to take the CPA exam. Back in those days, getting your MBA was the thing to do and it was one of those credentials that would differentiate me from my peers in a competitive job market. At that time, I was already about $35K in student loan debt from my undergraduate education at Mount Union College (Alliance, Ohio). Initially, I was apprehensive on going to grad school because of the cost and I didn’t want to go into more debt. However, my parents and college advisors reassured me that getting my MBA would be a good an “investment” for my future.
So in August of 2011, I graduated from BW with my MBA. This “wonderful” degree costed me about $45K. As I reflect back, my grad school experience was good. I met some cool people along the way, I had the opportunity to travel to Africa and I was able to solidify my college education. Yet, I often questioned myself whether or not my MBA was REALLY worth the money. Yeah, it was cool to tell people that I had a MBA. Yeah, it felt good to put some initials behind my name. And yeah, I learned a few things while I was in grad school. But was this experience worth going in debt for?
Within 5 years, I racked up approximately $80K in student loan debt between my undergrad and graduate education. The return on my “investment” was MORE DEBT and paying crazy amounts of interest for years. To be honest, I paid for a piece of paper and the ability to put “MBA” at the end of my name. I don’t feel any smarter by having my MBA. I believe the knowledge that I obtained in grad school could have been obtained through work experience and self-education.
If I knew what I know now, I definitely would not have gotten my MBA. The money that I’m paying to reduce my student loan debt could’ve been used in better ways, such as starting my own business or putting more money aside for my retirement. Sadly, the student loan debt crisis is the biggest thing to negatively impact Millennials. This crisis prevents young people from starting their adult lives on a good start. Often times, your student loan debt effects your credit score and it also makes it difficult to get favorable interest rates for auto loans and mortgages, and furthermore, your debt can delay life events, such as having a wedding or even having a baby.
Unfortunately, a lot of us had to learn this lesson through real-life experience, so I encourage our readers to inform the misinformed about the college education business and help them really understand the magnitude of student loan debt and its impact on their life down the road.