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Is an MBA Really Worth It?
    Photo of Don Sutaria
September/October 2012   
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

Welcome back in the Fall. We hope you are had a good summer in spite of high temperatures.

In this issue we present a controversial article, Is an MBA Really Worth It?

Free Career Directions Workshops
A Career Directions Workshop is being held for 8 consecutive sessions at Long Hill Chapel, Chatham, NJ. The workshop began on September 20, 2012, but you can join at any time and take as many sessions as you like.

The workshop is is presented by Tom Wilson, former Global Head of Recruiting at Merrill Lynch. This workshop is free and open to all at no charge or obligation. It will be repeated in the Spring of 2013 at another nearby location.

Advance registration is appreciated. You may register on line at The workshop is modular and you can take as many sessions as you like. Registrations will also be taken at the door. The workshop deals with Marketing Campaign, Resumes and Cover Letters, Successful Interviewing, Getting the Offer, and Starting a New Job.

The workshop would benefit those who are currently out of work, those considering a career change, as well as those just entering the job market.

Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions
"Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions" appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit to read more.

Articles on
Several of our articles will continue to appear on the website The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

CareerQuest's Blog
If you have not checked out our revamped blog recently, please do so. We have some interesting things to share with you. You can find it at Your feedback is always appreciated.

Book Endorsements
We at CareerQuest published a book titled Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career Is A Pathway To Your Soul!). There was no comparable book in the market. This book contains a series of thought-provoking essays and musings. Without encouragement and nudging from you, dear readers, this venture would not have been possible. Our sincerest thanks to all of you. This book can be ordered from Amazon, iUniverse, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller. You can peek inside the book at Amazon. You may even find your name in the Special Acknowledgements section, since I have given credit to almost three hundred of you! Check it out! It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.


Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Eleven reviews gave the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:

  "Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."  

We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

Andrea R. Nierenberg, President of The Nierenberg Group and known as the "Queen of Networking," has reviewed our book. Nierenberg calls it: "An excellent book....Chicken Soup for Your Career!" Thank you, Andrea.

Columbia Career Coaches Network
CareerQuest is proud to announce that Don Sutaria has been accepted as one of the career coaches for Columbia alumni. Designed to give coaching advice to alumni by alumni at discounted rates, the Columbia Career Coaches Network is an invaluable tool to assist alumni in moving within your industry or to strike out in a completely new direction.

The services of these career experts are available to people who are not graduates of Columbia but the discount is not available. Explore

Phone, Email, and Face-to-Face Counseling
Many of you have asked us if we provide counseling over the telephone and through email, as well as face-to-face counseling. The answer is 'yes' to both questions. Pre-paying with credit cards is very easy. Just a simple click on the Services page of our website. You can also view past issues of this newsletter on the Archives page.

Screenshot of the new CareeQuest Central website     CareerQuest's New Website
Please visit our new website at and send us your opinions which we value. It was completely redesigned by Kim Casault of Cruxwire Web.

Keep your feedback coming.

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail...

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  Tyranny of the Urgent!  
  The Latest from the CareerQuest Blog

Perhaps you have heard the saying: If you need something important to be done, give it to the busiest person and they will get it done! There is a lot of truth in it.

Have you ever wished for a thirty-hour day? Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwritten articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief.

  Is an MBA Really Worth It?  
  by Don Sutaria

Recently I had a female client in her 30's who happened to be a lawyer, having graduated from a prestigious school almost 12 years ago. During that period she worked on contract assignments but was unable to get a full-time job in any law firm. After a lot of frustration, she decided to pursue an M.B.A. in spite of a heavy student debt she was carrying. My honest feeling in counseling her was that she would have a very difficult time paying back a double whammy in educational loans, and perhaps that was not the best course of action.

Harvard Business School now costs about $120,000, which, after taking into account room and board and two years of lost wages, comes to around $400,000 in real cost.
Expensive degree

A very insightful article, The $400,000 Resume Booster, written by Adam Davidson, was found in the New York Times Magazine of August 12, 2012, supporting the recommendations I made to the young female lawyer I just mentioned above. The gist of Davidson's article is that the elite-business-school industry may be thriving, but it's sitting out the most exciting business development of our time. Davidson flatly states that many top-tier business school graduates make less money than they expected. In addition, independent surveys show that in 2011, 14% of the latest graduating class was unemployed. That is reality.

Davidson goes on to say, "These days, though, the value of your M.B.A. is as much symbolic as practical. With increased global competition, the real money is in resume polishing and status, not supply-chain management. Harvard Business School now costs about $120,000, which, after taking into account room and board and two years of lost wages, comes to around $400,000 in real cost. This year, more than 10,000 people applied for fewer than 900 slots." I could not agree more!

If your company pays for your Executive M.B.A. and continues your full compensation, that is another story. Typically, classes are held in the evenings and weekends, which tends to cause minimal disruption to one's professional life.

Debra Stewart is the President of the Council of Graduate Schools. Her analysis also shows that new enrollment in graduate programs dropped for second year in a row, which also confirms the fact that M.B.A. programs may also have fallen slightly out of favor.

The University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) gives some sensible advice about an M.B.A. It says:

  Why an M.B.A.
The M.B.A. is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. It is a degree designed to give you the ability to develop your career to its fullest potential, at an accelerated pace. What will you get out of an M.B.A.? Aside from a powerful life experience, the M.B.A. degree should supply three main value propositions: Skills, Networks, and Brand.

These include the "hard skills" of economics, finance, marketing, operations, management, and accounting, as well as "soft skills" of leadership, teamwork, ethics, and communication that are so critical for effective management. M.B.A. students acquire these skills inside and outside the classroom. Since M.B.A. programs attract people from very diverse industries and cultures, a program should be able to leverage these differences and translate them into learning opportunities.

An M.B.A. degree program offers access to a network of M.B.A. students, alumni, faculty, and business and community leaders. This network can be very useful when beginning a job search, developing a career path, building business relationships in your current career, or pursuing expertise outside your career field. For example, entrepreneurs need access to capital, business partners, vendors, and clients. Arts-related businesses need access to funding and strategic management in order to position themselves to be relevant in the marketplace. Global businesses need access to local business cultures as they expand their enterprises to new territories.

The M.B.A. degree is a recognized brand that signifies management and leadership training. The particular school and type of M.B.A. program you attend also have brand associations that can help open doors based on the school's reputation. The strength of a school's brand is based on the program's history, its ability to provide students with technical skills and opportunities for personal growth, and the reach of its alumni and industry network. A powerful brand can give you the flexibility to make changes throughout your career.

My feeling is that if a professional wants to gain only knowledge in the field of management, economics, operations, accounting, finance, and marketing, this person can purse learning through online or face-to-face courses, without horrendous expense and long-term debt. In essence, if you are a lifelong learner, you will find an effective and inexpensive way to constantly increase your knowledge.  
Man studying

Unless you obtain your M.B.A. from a prestigious university which ranks in the top 20-25, it may not have the desired effect in high salaries after completion of the M.B.A. Another advantage of these top-tier schools is the ability to form strong networks with your working classmates, and professors who are usually full-time working professionals or well-known names in academia with many connections in the world of work. If you analyze the advice given above by Wharton, the strength of the skills, networks, and brand, you are expected to get from an M.B.A. will probably be proportional to the ranking of these business schools.

U.S. News ranked the best business schools in 2012. See below:
  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  6. University of Chicago (Booth)
  7. University of California—Berkeley (Haas)
  8. Columbia University
  9. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
  10. Yale University
  11. New York University (Stern)
  12. Duke University (Fuqua)
  13. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (Ross)
  14. University of Virginia (Darden)
  15. University of California—Los Angeles (Anderson)
  16. Cornell University (Johnson)
  17. University of Texas—Austin (McCombs)
  18. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  19. Emory University (Goizueta)
  20. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
  21. University of Southern California (Marshall)
  22. Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)
  23. Indiana University—Bloomington (Kelley)
  24. Georgetown University (McDonough)
  25. Ohio State University (Fisher)
In the final analysis, you alone will have to be the judge if an M.B.A. is worth it to you for your career advancement.


Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Find me on LinkedIn Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
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