Value of Education: Project Manager v. MBA

booksOK.  It’s not really a battle.  I have, however, recently been asked by many people whether they should consider getting an MBA or project management training.

In this period of economic worry, many are considering this as an opportunity (if not an imperative) to augment their value.   The number of registered applicants taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) has gone up by nearly 50% from last year.  Enrollments in project management training has also increased this year.

Which is best?

For me, two big things to consider: Value and Cost.

Value:  who decides?

If a future employer (or client) is the customer, then you are the product;  is the MBA degree or PM training a benefit or a feature?  It’s a feature, isn’t it?  A potential employer will place a value on the feature.  So, you need to place yourself in the mind of the customer (marketing/stakeholder analysis).

Does it make a difference in getting hired? Starting compensation? Advancement?   According to Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2008 MBA graduate survey, graduates of full-time MBA programs expect about a 67 percent increase from their pre-MBA salaries.

That sound good… but, as they say, “your mileage may vary.”  It is really about your customers’ values.


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