The Times today carries an article about whether MBA courses provide value for money. Acquiring an MBA degree obviously which involves a year or more of your time, plus fees, and living expenses, and not a little effort. That being the case, how long is it before your enhanced earning power covers the cost of your course and begins to show a profit?
The research has been undertaken by an outfit called TopMBA, and the results are based, naturally, on various assumptions. In principle, however, the research suggests that for a US two-year degree a typical payback period would be just over three and a half years; for a one-year European MBA the period is two to three years. Thereafter, the additional earnings resulting from your MBA are pure gravy.
This prompts me to ask the following question: has anyone done any similar work on the monetary value of a degree in creative writing?
If I had to guess, I would imagine that the result is negative. In other words, I doubt whether, on average, the typical creative-writing graduate, with an MFA or whatever, is ever going to earn enough from writing to cover the substantial cost of the degree, let alone wallow in the gravy.
But I may, as usual, be hopelessly cynical and ill-informed on this point. Given all the weird things that people do research into, perhaps someone has produced data on this.
By the way, you may from time to time see advertisements from 'colleges' and other institutions which offer to teach you to write short stories, articles or novels through a correspondence course. And these adverts absolutely GUARANTEE -- yes, folks, they one hundred per cent infallibly guarantee -- that if you don't earn the full cost of the fees by the time you have completed the course (earn it, that is, from writing stuff for the press, under their guidance), they will refund your money.
I believe every word of that. Do you know why? Because the catch is in the phrase 'complete the course'. Barely one person in a hundred ever does finish the course. The world is full of dreamers, many of whom sign up. And they are then set assignments. Which, after an initial flurry of enthusiasm, they never complete. So these trainee writers never qualify for a possible refund.
Mind you, we all know that, even if the hopefuls actually did write 20 articles, or short stories, or half a novel, the chances of getting their work published in a paid-for context are slim indeed.
Later Note, 9 March 2013: If by any chance you were led here by Google or similar, you may like to know that there is now a web site which provides useful info on Masters degrees in Business Administration, and other subjects. Here's the link.