I spent $60,000 and 2 years on my MBA. Here are the best lessons you learn in business school

I spent $60,000 and 2 years on my MBA. Here are the best lessons you learn in business school

Are MBAs worth it? It depends on many factors, like whether you have the money, time and willingness to commit.

In 2015, I enrolled in The University of Florida’s online MBA program, all while working a full-time job in finance. The degree cost me $60,000 and took two years to complete, but it gave me the confidence to take business risks, improved my decision-making skills, expanded my network, and even boosted my salary.

It also taught me several valuable lessons about business and money:

1. Contracts don’t have to be complicated

Having a contract for any business deal you make can save you from emotional distress and financial losses. It doesn’t matter if it’s with close friend or family member — anything that involves a chunk of your time and money should come with a contract.

Also, the mere act of proposing a contract is a good stress test: If the other party gives long-winded reasons not to sign, you should probably move on.

Even a short and simple handwritten one can go a long way. Here are the most essential elements to include:

  1. The “offer”: Something needs to be offered.
  2. The “consideration”: Something needs to be exchanged for it (usually money, otherwise it is a gift or a promise, rather than a contract).
  3. An “acceptance”: Both sides need to accept the terms of the contract.
  4. The “mutuality”: Both sides need to agree to the conditions and understand that they’ve entered into a contract.

2. The trick to persuasion

Aristotle’s three key components of persuasion, which I learned in my Business Writing and Negotiations class, gave me the tools and methods I needed to succeed at selling myself and winning people over:

  1. Ethos (ethics): Cite your moral standing and credibility.
    Example: “I am a wife, a mother, and a taxpayer. I’ve served faithfully for 20 years on the school board. I deserve your vote for [X].”
  2. Pathos (emotion): Tap into the emotional impact of your argument.
    Example: “My opponent wants to hurt [X] by doing [X]. Imagine how frustrated you would be if [X] were to happen.”
  3. Logos (logic): Craft your message with facts, such as evidence, analogies, statistics or even hypothetical scenarios.
    Example: “We do not have enough money to pay for improvements to [X]. And without improvements, the [X] system will falter and thus hinder our economy. Therefore, we should do [X] to pay for better [X].”

3. Too many options can be a bad thing

4. Time in the market beats timing the market

5. How to be a better negotiator