The MBA question is an interesting one. Personally no interest in getting one because it would mean I'd have to start doing what I consider the worst kind of work imaginable - but that is definitely just personal preference. Many others find such work fulfilling and often profitable.
Curious, what would you define as the "type of work" that an MBA does? On the face of it, it's a generalist qualification, though you can get an MBA in "Finance" or 30-odd other sub-specialties depending on your school. There are definitely stereotypical career paths, namely banking and management consulting, but if you recognize that those fit your definition of "the worst type of work ever" then don't apply for those jobs. Those jobs tend to pay the highest, hence MBA placement programs push them heavily (helps the ratings) and students in hock up to their eyeballs eat them up. That said, MBAs can be found in a pretty vast array of professions; tech product management, engineering management, government, etc. I work in renewable energy myself.
To the larger question of Mustachianess and the MBA on one level it seems to not make that much sense for the majority of folks. If your plan is to RE then something that requires quite a number of years of working to get any appreciable ROI doesn't make much sense since the larger goal is to not spend quite a number of years working!
True, and always do the cost benefit analysis. Full time programs are usually 2 years, and you have to consider opportunity cost. If your goal is RE, your best bet these days is probably to discover within yourself computer programming talent and skip college altogether. Military's not a bad route either, but you're looking at 20 years vs 10. It seems a lot of mustachians are lawyers, same thing as MBAs but my impression is that the labor market for lawyers is very much a buyer's market. For me, the MBA enabled a desired transition and a much higher salary. My wife doubled her salary with a much smaller investment dollar-wise.
Those that I know who specifically wanted to do the kind of work an MBA is a prerequisite for determined it really was a check box for a resume, or as others have said an extended expensive interview. In that sense what made the most sense was to find the most economical way to get an MBA and most definitely to do a program that allows you to continue working. The full-time programs are extremely difficult to find economic justification for. Besides what seems like very high tuition the reality is for almost anyone who is actually going to make money off of an MBA they likely already have a fairly high paying job and thus the opportunity cost of leaving work for a full time MBA program is even more expensive than the tuition.
The full-time programs to my knowledge are actually MUCH cheaper than the part time ones. Only do a part time MBA if your employer is footing the bill.
The cynic in me sees the expensive full time MBA programs as targeting students who don't understand the value of money or time. It is an odd selection process since you would have to be rather bad at economic calculations to enroll in such a program and yet supposedly when you complete said program employers will want to hire you to make economic calculations. Strange...
Thanks! I love being called gullible, though I won't deny a certain naivete; after all at the beginning of my MBA I could call in an airstrike but couldn't have explained the difference in Revenue and Net Income. Let's see though, the average starting salary for a top-twenty MBA graduate is something like $100k + bonus, or more; call it $125k. Median US individual earnings are $40k. If you can get into a top twenty program, oh hypothetical median-wage-earner, you forego $80k in expected salary, take on $50-100k in debt and make $85k more per year (all rough numbers, of course). If you're frugal and hard working (what mustachian isn't?) it can definitely pay off. Like I said, my wife doubled her salary in 2 years for $36k + opportunity cost. It's no golden ticket, it's a license to work hard and hustle.
Finally, as to post-graduate education in general, the best general rule of thumb is that if you have to pay for it then it probably isn't worth doing. This is a very coarse rule of thumb, but it works rather well as a first smell test.
I'll happily stand in as the exception proving your rule.
For example considering a M.S./Ph.D. - if it is a field that is of any economic value to anyone then you should be able to get a tuition waiver and RA or TA. Alternatively you should be able to get an employer to either pay for it or pay you to go get it. If neither of these conditions is present then the M.S./Ph.D. is unlikely to be of much economic utility to you since clearly no one else thinks it is of economic utility to pay you to do it.
Maybe... definitely not in my case, though. Curious though, would you advocate the same for an undergrad degree? If no-one is willing to pay for you to get a CS undergrad, it's unlikely to be of economic value... doesn't ring true really. Seems like you're saying that if you happen to be working the checkout line at the local Target and they're not willing to pay for you to go to college, you're best bet for FI is to stick it out.
Last, I think Mustachianess is all about becoming FI, which also means being able to make decisions more free of immediate financial concerns. So if you really wanted an MBA, or a Ph.D. in English for that matter, you could do so if you were FI. It just doesn't seem those are particualrly good pathways to becoming FI in and of themselves.
Again, I think it depends on your baseline. A raw HS grad is not making FI unless he writes the next app that Yahoo buys. So you have to go to school, which means money. And you may have the opportunity to increase earnings even more by getting a masters.