The Best Investment I have Ever Made...Jun 26, 2022
...an Investment in Myself.
An investment in yourself pays the highest dividends.
I believe in this statement but often find investing in yourself is one of the HARDEST decisions to make. I’m not talking about investing in the stock market, real estate, or skincare here. I’m talking about truly investing in yourself and your education.
Investing in education is just as critical as the stock market or real estate but often without instant gratification and certainty that it WILL pay off, making it a more difficult decision to make. And you definitely don’t get that immediate “feel good” feeling like channeling money into a new car or couch.
However, determining the ROI (return on investment) of education is imperative when seeking advanced degrees, such as an MBA, or upskilling opportunities.
What is the ROI of an online course? A mastermind? A mini-MBA over a traditional one? You really have to think about how you are going to apply your education. Once applied, what is the potential ROI for your career? It’s not as straightforward as say, backing into the ROI of a $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 with nearly 100 years of data behind it.
The power behind investing in your education is exponential in the way it compounds. As an entrepreneur, woman in business, and investor with a fairly steep early retirement goal, I want to share the best investments I have made (or not made) in myself in order to illustrate the ROI of education.
Here’s my shortlist - the BEST Investments I have EVER made, with ~ROI because well, that is important.
Improving my Financial Literacy
I really began investing time into improving my financial literacy around age 23-24, and I’m still learning. I believe this improvement process never stops, and the biggest investment in this space is time. But when determining the value add, time is money. Looking back and scrubbing through my ole budget (you know I have my spending documented back to 2016!), my husband and I have dedicated just about $5,000 to improve our financial literacy. This went towards many, many books, a Real Estate Investors conference, a Personal Finance conference, membership to specific online programs, etc.
The ROI here is millions.
You read that right – millions. This financial literacy has not only fueled (and will continue to fuel) our investment decisions, this is education that will be instilled in future generations of our family. The ROI of learning lifelong skills is immeasurable and worth your time and money.
Improving my Business Acumen as an Entrepreneur
I work in business for my full-time job (Sr. Product Marketing Manager) and have a pretty solid baseline of business acumen. But, when it came to starting my own business, I quickly realized there was A LOT I did not know. Sure, I knew the basics like how to manage business finances. But I needed more strategic direction, and I will STILL need more down the road!
Last year, I invested $2,000 in a business coaching program specifically for online entrepreneurs. At first, I was nervous to make that investment. But let me tell you about the ROI so far.
After completing the program in December of last year, I began implementing strategies and learnings into my business practices in 2022. One strategy specifically drove $36,000 in revenue for my business in three days. That right there is a 1,700% ROI! And this brings me to my next point… & RECOMMENDATION.
Now, an Investment I chose NOT to make & a recommendation I have for fellow Business Women & Entrepreneurs…
The investment I chose not to make? The traditional MBA. This is something I toyed with early on in my career...Do I need an MBA to make “good” money? I really didn’t know, but I felt this aura around MBAs in Corporate America. At the same time, I couldn’t help but sit back and notice the successful leaders WITHOUT traditional MBAs.
I networked and asked mentors their thoughts on the traditional MBA. I kept hearing the same thing – it’s not a requirement these days, even for C-Suite execs.
An SVP at my former company who now serves on the SLT at the Mayo Clinic told me, “It won’t HURT you to get one, but it also may not make a difference at all. Especially if you’re not attending a top 10 MBA program. There are ways to increase your business acumen and leadership skills without it. And most importantly, as a leader, is your emotional IQ. This can be improved upon outside the traditional MBA program.”
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the education that comes with a traditional MBA is very valuable, but especially after that conversation, I couldn’t help but think – isn’t there a way to obtain similar business skills without the massive investment that comes with a traditional MBA program?
In my usual fashion, I also RESEARCHED. I found data from Preston Cooper, a contributor to Forbes and a Visiting Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, that concludes it is not entirely clear in today’s world that the traditional MBA will add that much more value from a counterfactual earnings perspective.
Cooper’s data finds that 62% of Master's Degrees or MBAs have a negative ROI. The ONLY MBA programs above the trend with very positive ROIs are top 20 programs – Harvard, Yale, Wharton. But those are also the programs that put your life on hold and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is not an option for everyone.
And the, I learned about the Invited MBA. The Invited MBA began as a leadership program for Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, Dell, and more. I remember thinking… ah-ha! This is interesting....
Their "mini MBA" provides a fast track to the essential business skills and financial acumen needed to be successful without the 2-year, $100K commitment of the traditional MBA. And, clearly, reputable companies, such as my own employer, were behind it as well, funding this program for associates manager level and above. I was immediately impressed.
The program is impressive and innovative to say the least, built by a group of seasoned leadership development professionals. The Invited MBA has its roots at Harvard Business School, where founder Bjorn Billhardt received his MBA and then worked with his former professors to create some of Harvard’s first interactive online simulations. Shortly thereafter, their founding team partnered with the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business to commercialize a leadership simulation used by the University of Texas MBA students. The program uses real-world scenarios to develop universally applicable, transferable skills.
It is a highly collaborative, social learning-based program that builds communication, teamwork, business acumen, decision-making, financial literacy, and problem-solving skills to accelerate your professional growth. And did I mention it is 100% online?!
My Takeaway & Recommendation
Investing in your education will pay the highest dividends (if done right and applied of course). If you are a working professional aspiring to climb the corporate ladder or entrepreneur looking to accelerate your business acumen and leadership skills without a significant financial investment, check out the Invited MBA program as you think about leveling up your business or career. I know many of you are aspiring entrepreneurs or small business owners here, and if you’re one who doesn’t have a background in business, business degree, or maybe you just realize the true “business” side of your brain needs development, I think this program could be a great option!
Cheers F3 Fam!
I connected with Invited MBA and agreed to allow them to sponsor this post. Views are my own, based on my experiences.
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