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MBA Has Big Costs But Big Payoffs, too

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Photo: Olivier Koning
Loryn Guiffre, an MBA student at Hawaii Pacific University, will
graduate in May with a debt of $60,000, but she says the degree
is “definitely worth it to me.”

David Akina spent $50,000 over two years and sweated through evening and weekend classes for a master’s degree in business administration. He’s never been sorry, not for a single moment.

That degree launched his company, Paradise Pages, into the stratosphere, gave him ideas for strategic partnerships, deals with vendors and business alliances. He felt secure when making decisions and avoided second-guessing himself. In short, it made him money. A lot of money.

“The negotiation classes with Larry Price alone made the company millions of dollars,” says the 2005 MBA graduate of Chaminade University of Honolulu. “It suggests things you wouldn’t have thought of, and it makes you a better negotiator, a better listener. The things he taught I use every day in my business.”

Not every MBA graduate is going to see big bucks just because of a gold-tipped certificate and the know-how that goes with it. Still, Hawaii colleges are bursting with students doggedly pursuing this Holy Grail, hoping it’s the wedge that opens a door, burnishes a career, or offers new challenges and direction.

Here’s how 13 people view the MBA, including current students, recent and longtime graduates, people who recruit and hire, and people who run local MBA programs.

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