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Is a Harvard Business School MBA Worth It?

Four years ago journalist Philip Delves Broughton wanted to revive his career as his industry – newspaper publishing – approached extinction. “I needed to figure out a way to control the system myself,” he says.

His solution: Harvard Business School.

The moved worked. His brand name MBA has opened many doors since graduating in 2006. The now 36-year-old is still a journalist, but also an entrepreneur and author of the new book, Ahead of the Curve, a tell-all about his two years at the Ivy League powerhouse.

TheStreet.com correspondent and MainStreet contributor Farnoosh Torabi recently spoke with the Delves Broughton to get advice for the next generation of MBA students.

MainStreet: First, why did you decide to write this book?
Philip Delves Broughton: Two months after graduation – after I had decompressed – I looked back at my diary and thought, what can I do? The diary led to Ahead of the Curve. [The book] is not a set of business lessons. It’s about integrating business into your life. I didn’t go to Harvard to get a job…but to try to learn about business and how to do creative things in media.

Is this a good time to be in business school?
Deciding when to go to business school is like having children. There’s never a convenient time.

How did you afford business school?
I took out a lot of bank loans. Being a foreigner (Broughton is from England) I didn’t have huge access to federal loans. It’s expensive.

What if you’re someone who can’t afford it? It’s harder to secure private loans these days.

If you’re someone who wants to find a new career, then try to find it without an MBA. There are ways to get into that without the transition of attending business school. For example, if you want to learn about finance, consider completing the CFA program. Also, I think it’s much easier to get loans at small, prestigious schools. Getting into Harvard, for example, your credit rating appears to go up in the eyes of loan officers.

How significant is the Harvard brand?
I figured I would be best served by the biggest possible brand. In general Harvard leads to more meetings, more interviews. The alumni network is incredible. If someone asks me if I know someone at X company, chances are I do. There’s extraordinary access. There are very few stages in your life you make really good friends. As you grow older your social clientele shrinks. Business school is a chance to get to know people, a chance to make real friends.

What’s life been like for you since getting your MBA?

I live in Connecticut. My house has a big garden where my children can play. I am still writing. I also helped friends set up a private bank in the United Kingdom. Basically, I write my own paycheck every month. Being out there on your own, the more you do it, the better you get at it. It’s a process.

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