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5 Reasons why Dave Ramsey is wrong about MBA school

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Dear Dave,

You are a pretty good guy, and I definitely agree with a lot of what you preach. However, sometimes you are just wrong. When you said that an MBA was unnecessary and basically a waste of money, well, that was pretty bad tunnel vision.

Just because you don’t require an MBA to hire someone, doesn’t mean that an MBA is pointless. Let me give you some reasons why I believe an MBA may be a smart decision for some people.

Career change

For many MBA students, school is the opportunity to change careers. I’m not talking about just a job change but a career change. For example, I may be working as an assembly line superviser but what I really want to do is be a brand manager. An MBA is a way to leave my current job, learn new skills, and be offered opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been afforded me.

So an MBA is an exit strategy for some people. I expect that you’ll now make the debt argument and tell me that there are other ways to change careers. Earning a good MBA doesn’t always mean paying $100k. There are good, inexpensive schools as well as financial assistance. So yes, I’ll incur some debt, but the years of higher pay afterwords certainly overcompensate for the debt.

As per other options for changing careers, you are right. There are other options. What I recommend people considering graduate school do is create a list on the left side of a paper outlining each goal they hope to accomplish by going to graduate school. On the right hand side, make a list of ways you can accomplish the same goals without attending graduate school. At the end of this exercise, you may find that graduate school isn’t the right option. Though, you may find that it is still the right path.

The point is, an MBA is sometimes the best way to get out of a bad or dead-end situation.

Job requirement

Certain jobs or positions require having a graduate degree. You may not like it or agree with it, but that’s just the world we live in. For example, to get past mid-level management in many large corporations, you simply have to have an MBA.

One of the jobs that I am interested in pursuing requires an MBA to get in. What you have to understand with a good MBA degree is that it combines work experience with knowledge. This combination is what a lot of employers look for in job applicants.

And I really don’t care whether you think the job I want is worth having or not, because I want it – and that means getting an MBA.

Better pay

I already alluded to better pay earlier. Nothing is a sure thing in life and you therefore aren’t guaranteed better pay by obtaining an MBA. However, the odds are in your favor. Statistically, people with MBAs make more money. If you have reached a salary cap, then an MBA can help you get a raise with your current employer or switch to a different firm that will pay more.

There isn’t much more to say about this point.

Unemployment rate

A lot of people are very concerned about the current unemployment rate in the US, as well they should be. However, the unemployment issue does not evenly affect all sectors of society. If you look at the 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’ll find that the unemployment rate is noticeable lower for the more educated.

Unemployment Rates for 2010

So not only do you earn more money, but you are much more likely to be employed. If you want to get into more specific detail, then you can check out the numbers by clicking here.

The point is, Dave, that getting a graduate degree pays in more way than one, including job security.

More sex

This last point may be the most important for some people, despite me putting it last on the list. Studies have shown that your IQ will increase with each year of graduate school. It has also been proven that people with higher IQs have more sex. So if you feel that your love life is lacking, then grad school may be a good investment.

Though, it will be a delayed benefit since another study showed that frequency of intercourse drops during grad school (probably due to work load). So this benefit, like the others, comes after you graduate.

Closing thought

What I’m saying is that you can’t make a blanket statement opposing grad school. Earning an MBA makes a lot of sense for some people and no sense for others. So be a little more open minded.

Still a fan,

Adam Williams


Tags: , , | Filed under Reviews, Careers, Featured


  • There’s no right or wrong answer regarding getting an MBA. Whether or not its the best decision depends on your goals: do you want to start your own business or work for Goldman Sachs? The latter will absolutely require an MBA.

    • I completely agree, and that’s really my point. Dave made a blanket statement opposing MBAs and I think he is wrong. An MBA is the right choice for some people, though admittedly not all people.

  • Matt

    Adam – I have been listening to Dave Ramsey for a few years now and have never heard him say that he opposes someone pursuing an MBA.  He has MBAs on his team.  What I’ve heard him say countless times is that it is not necessary to have an MBA to be successful in business, contrary to what most people believe. 

    • Hey Matt, thank you for your comment. Dave made the comment during Financial Peace University. I don’t know whether or not he employs MBAs. But again during FPU, he said that he doesn’t see an MBA as a requirement to work for him.

      I like Dave and agree with 95% of the stuff he says. But because he’s very outspoken, I think he makes some outlandish statements on occasion that he maybe wouldn’t repeat under other circumstances.

  • Matt

    So because he said that it doesn’t require an MBA to work for him, that makes him against pursuing an MBA?  Dude, what are you talking about? 

    • Hey Matt,

      Let me try to be very clear. Dave said that he does not believe MBAs are necessary. Plain and simple. As ONE reason or support for his claim, he mentioned that he doesn’t require an MBA. Two statements. I’m not taking one statement and inferring what he meant. He flat said it was overrated and unnecessary.

      Any other questions?

      • Matt

        I’m sorry Adam, but I just went back to the FPU DVD this morning where he discussed MBAs… I never heard him use the word ‘overrated’, ‘unnecessary’, or ‘a waste of money’.  I enjoyed reading your article, but I think that in this case you have him misquoted.  I could be wrong… If I am please let me know which DVD he said it in and where. 

      • Hey Matt,

        I don’t own the DVDs, so I can’t go watch them unfortunately :(

  • Jim Davis

    I think Dave would say that Adam was defending his poopy diaper :) What do you mean the years I spent in college to get my MBA was wasted?! hehe Talk about an Ego. Just take a deep breath, relax, and move on….

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