MBA vs. PhD in Economics

MBA vs. PhD in Economics


Every year thousands of economics students decide to continue education, either straight away after graduation or after a year or two of “real world” experience. Often at this point comes the question: should I pursue a PhD or enroll in an MBA program? This crucial question includes important considerations ranging from “Which path fulfills my career goals?” to “What is the possible return on investment of the study course?” There is no single correct answer, as personal priorities and intrinsic rewards differ immensely. Some want to see a bright and shiny “Professor” title next to their name and develop further within their academic field, while some aim for high positions in the private sector and don’t want to spend 4-6 years on another degree.

This blog post aims to help you make up your mind about which route is better. The selection of useful links below will hopefully make the decision-process easier:

1) The article “MBA vs. PhD in Business: Which One is Right for You?” tells you what a PhD and an MBA are about and explains the advantages of both.

2) George Washington University professor Stephen Joel Trachtenberg debates whether we need to spend that much time studying in general in this CNN Opinion section post “Do you need a BA, MA, MBA, JD and PhD?

3) The post “PhD or MBA – Choosing the Right Graduate Degree for You” describes what it is like to be a PhD or an MBA student and discusses the career prospects of both.

4) If you are aiming to become an entrepreneur, but hesitate when it comes to which type of education will give you the best preparation, this “MBA or PhD – Picking the right degree as a University Entrepreneur“ post might be very helpful.

5) There are many Internet forum discussions devoted to this topic. “MBA vs. PhD” on includes a great deal of useful advice and “MBA versus PhD in Business” on includes suggestions about how you can financially support your future studies.

6) Greg Mankiw argues that “An MBA is a better investment than a PhD” in his short blog entry.

And as mentioned above, possible future earnings are also important for your final decision. The data on salaries of economists with different types of degrees will be available soon in the INOMICS Job Market Survey 2013.

We hope you’ll make the right choice for yourself and succeed in whatever you do. Good luck!

Photo Credit: Davi Ozolin