Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Is It Worth It?

Sometimes I wonder if something is worth purchasing or investing in. I feel that if I can't arrive at a decently positive answer on my own, then it probably isn't worth it. But, sometimes I can't really tell. So, if you have any take on the following things, please share:

1. Is it worth it to join an alumni network? My school, a large state school, has an annual fee of $40. I guess it buys me something, but I don't see that I'll get much out of an alumni network and I don't see myself needing discounts on lots of school-themed products. Have you gotten good use out such a thing?

2. Is it really worth it to get an MBA, particularly if you are not going to get one from a top tier B-school? I know that I won't be able to go to a premier business school due to family and financial constraints. Besides, I'm not that interested. But, I often wonder if it would be worth it in the long run. If I got an MBA from my local business school, would it really make any difference in my career at this point?

3. Does it really help to join a local running club? I mean, really pay dues and be a moderately active member? Is it all about just meeting new people?

4. Does a AAA membership really ever come in handy? I feel like it is mostly a scam, but I hate the idea of not having it the day when my car dies on the side of the some highway. Or, worse, when the car dies in the process of transporting my wife and kids somewhere.

5. Are certifications that important after a certain point in your career? I'm a project manager of sorts and I sometimes wonder about getting a PMP. But, I just wonder if it will make any difference for me at all. Is it useful or simply something that exists as a checkbox for corporate and government jobs?


Cuckoo said...

Hi there - I found your blog through a comment you left on someone else's blog recently.

In response to your survey, here's my take on each:

1. Join an alumni network? Not worth it.

2. Get an MBA? Worth it. My husband didn't get an MBA, but he did get his Masters in Computer Science and career oportunities and advancement started popping up all over the place for him.

3. Join a local running club? For me, not worth it. I like to run on my own time, not because my running group is scheduled to run at 6am or whenever. I love to talk about running, and what better way to find people that also like to talk about running then through a running club, but still, running is more of a solo sport for me that I do on my time and on my own schedule.

4. AAA membership? I don't know. Doesn't it also get you discounts on hotels and such? I guess this might be worth it.

5. Certifications? Worth it. It's a nice filler to add to a resume or maybe it can bring nice perks like raises at your current job.

Dave said...


Thanks for the advice on these. I can't see myself ever getting an MBA, no matter what. I wonder about it, but mostly with respect to what the average outcome is if you were to do a cost-benefit analysis on the process and the achievement. Get an MBA...does the actual reward justify the cost of doing so? From the folks I have spoken with, many of whom have MBAs, the key is in using the network that you can develop at business school. But, if you aren't going to a school with a strong alumni network, then there just doesn't seem to be a good reason to do it, barring other obvious reasons. Sure, if you are looking to switch jobs and make a career change, it could be good. But, an MBA doesn't magically turn you into management material and doesn't automatically translate into more income. I know that it might have helped had I got one several years ago, but I don't think going back know would get me on a better career path or make a big difference in my income. If I thought otherwise, I'd be applying to business school right now.

As for other graduate degress...I have no idea. I'd consider going back for something else, but that would definitely be about changing jobs and doing something different, in which case I would be looking at the cost-benefit from a different perspective.