Opportunity cost provides a broad view of the monetary and nonmonatary factors in making a choice (Hall, 2000). This paper examines the concept of the individual opportunity cost for pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. It suggests that acquiring an MBA part-time while employed, as compared to a full-time student, minimizes the payback period for the cost of education at the expense of the non-monetary demands on time, energy and family.
The paper specifies the common elements involved in making the choice between taking a leave of absence from work, moving out of town, and pursuing an MBA full-time, or maintaining a current job while enrolled in a local MBA program. It then compares and contrasts the options and finally concludes the paper with a suggested choice.
Opportunity Cost Elements
Hall and Lieberman define opportunity cost as “the value of the best alternative sacrificed when taking an action (pg. 16). They suggest every choice is a sacrifice. Yet, to what degree must a sacrifice be made between a choice of “learning while earning” and “learning while paying?”
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “When there is a choice about it, a great sacrifice is preferable to a small sacrifice, because we compensate ourselves for a great one with self-admiration, which is not possible with a small one” (Columbia World of Quotations, 1996). Acquiring an MBA, regardless of the choice of options, requires a great sacrifice. It is unavoidable. Nevertheless, a careful examination of choice elements, namely money, time, energy, and family, may minimize the degree of sacrifice (MBA.org.nz, 2002).