I definitely want to pursue a PhD at some point, maybe.
I definitely want to do original research and forward the common knowledge of the developer space. Might as well get a PhD while I'm at it.
Still I've been shopping for a Master's degree. A lot of companies offer some type of leadership development / mentoring. If you combined that with Corsera work I'm sure I could match the curriculum of most MBA programs. I could create a more tailored program that would be preferable*. That is obviously not the same as a master's. But.
Let's look at the value gap between the two. Let's assume simple numbers. I make 50k and by getting a masters I expect to increase my earnings to 100k. Even if I finance my education, paying three times as much over time, It is a 90k investment over several years with a return of an additional 2.1 million in earnings over the course of my working life. So. No brainer right?
Well. No. I know plenty of MBAs starting around 60k. If you invest the same 90k in education for and additional 10k a year then you will break even for ten years to pocket an additional 234k over your working life. Valuing the additional time and effort, I don't think it is worth it.
With Corsera there is considerably less risk. It's $50 a month (about $1800 for three years). Corsera offers less risk, but at a cost. The market values an MBA more than comparable course work. So all things equal an MBA candidate should win out over someone who completed coursework on Corsera.
There is the argument that schools don't add value to employees. They are tools we use to signal employers. So if you have enough drive does it matter? I think it does. School will open doors.
There is also the marginal utility of additional earnings. Once you get over 76k the marginal utility of a dollar starts tapering off. Basically, you will have nicer stuff but you will not be any happier. More people are starting to realize that. Big house nice car is a dated value.
My question. Is an MBA 16 times better than online coursework? It costs 16 times as much. No doubt it is better, but 16 times better?
*Any program would have to include some type of social networking component.