2/14/2005

Is an MBA enough?

As I picked up an old U.S. News & World Report (Oct. 2003) the other day at a friends apartment, I stumbled across a commentary entitled "In today's job market is an MBA Enough?". It stated there is currently more than 100,000 men and women studying for an MBA degree. Many hiring managers have questions about the real-world value of the MBA in today's business world. These same managers often feel that the traditional graduate business degree provides enough theoretical knowledge, but perhaps, not enough applied or hands-on training. Hence, I ask your opinion. Is the traditional way of teaching for an MBA effective? Are MBA program curriculum's in need of change? Should business programs emulate the medical programs, in that actual work experience is need before graduation?

15 comments:

Eric said...

I don't know how much knowledge you pull from school actually helps you in the real world. But in the business field I am willing to bet, day to day job activity has little to do with the schooling we receive here at SUU. I think one major reason an employer looks for a BA or a MBA is they want disciplined individuals that can think, and a degree helps point to those individuals. So thank goodness medical students have more hands on experience when they leave Medical school. But it really doesn't bother me to have a fellow co-worker who can't tell me the local demand for apples.

kenny said...

Having a MBA does not mean that you are an experienced manager. A MBA means that you have a formal education. An MBA proves dedication to achieve a goal. It shows that you are not a quitter, and shows that you can conform to the rules of a bureaucracy. I think that people are confusing an education for work experience.

kenny said...

Having a MBA does not mean that you are an experienced manager. A MBA means that you have a formal education. An MBA proves dedication to achieve a goal. It shows that you are not a quitter, and shows that you can conform to the rules of a bureaucracy. I think that people are confusing an education for work experience.

Ann said...

I think it would be helpful to come out of school with some work experience, but I don't think it needs to be added to the extent that medical school has hands on experience. From what I have seen the theory that is learned in MBA school lends to a quicker learning curve in the professional world. Having a little work experience would make that learning curve just that much better.

Ann said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Kenny's comment for spelling mistakes.

Initially, the MBA was supposed to be something you only got after you had some real world experience. It is still this way at top schools.

Universities have cheapened this degree to bring in more cash. In the traditional way, an MBA had to be relatively cheap in order to make it worthwhile for someone to quit a job to get one. By reducing the necessity of this, business schools have increased the consumer surplus of students. In turn, doing this has allowed them to charge more for their MBA degree.

All three comments have hit correctly on the idea that an MBA is a signalling device. Signalling value to others is hugely important in the real world, and completing degrees does that in a way that is much stronger than the sum of the individual classes.

BTW: this is probably why economics degrees pay more highly than other undergraduate business degrees, and why this is a major that is sought out by employers. I am not going to sit here and tell you that economics teaches a lot that has practical value in the real world. But I will tell you that completing an economics degree signals a potential employer that you've thought more constructively about harder problems than people from other disciplines.

Drake said...

Having an MBA isn't enough a Macc is the only degree that will land you the big bucks. I only kidding. I know it seems silly but I have to agree with the other comments. Just because you have an MBA doesn't mean you can be thrown into a professional business environment and run the show. It means, I may not know all the answers, but if you need them I can find them for you and intelligently discuss them with you. A certain mind set comes from higher education, and I believe that mindset is what the business world is looking for.

Ace said...

The more and more I'vethought about and researched getting my MBA, I have come to conclude that work experience and education go hand in hand. You need both, and the more you have of both of them the better off you are. I think the person with a MBA degree has a better chance of getting promoted in a shorter period of time then it takes someone with a BS degree.

Ralph said...

If I was a hiring manager and had two applicants, one having an MBA and the other not having one, I would hire the person with the degree. The MBA doesn’t hurt the person’s chance of getting hired, it can only help. There is information learned in schooling that will help a business, I have heard executive positions in some corporations require the degree.

sierra said...

Having an MBA is a great thing, and shows that you really care about getting the degree you are in. But, there is nothing that can beat work experience. It is very important to be able to know what to do in the job that you have or want. Just because you have an MBA, doesn't mean you know how to do the job you have. I also believe in getting a job, part of it is to do with the people you know, and not just the education you have, but of course you still have to have a good back ground.

stockton said...

In todays world it just looks and sounds better if you have a Masters degree in business or anything else. I agree with the above posting in that when an employer is hiring for a position, the applicant with the MBA will probably get the job over the applicant that does not have the MBA. Also, work experience is so much more beneficial than schooling. You learn as you go and you will actually remember things a lot better, rather than memorizing and forgetting after the test is over.

Harry said...

Having an MBA in todays world is an advantage and can help you out. Because it seems that everything is starting to get alot more competitive. But it does not mean that you are more experienced at being a manager than say someone who has had hands on experience.

Chuck said...

As the author of this post I appreciate all the feedback this blogg is getting. It shows most of you care and have oppinion on this matter. Most of you stated in one way or another that a Bachelors degree in business is good and a Masters degree even better. However, I don't feel that many of you directly addressed the questions originally possed. Are MBA programs in need of a reformation? Would it hurt to try a more real-world approach? Hit me back!

C-Dizzle said...

I don’t fully agree with the way many school programs are taught right now. It’s like bringing a bunch of people to an ice rink, handing them all gloves, pads, skates, helmets, etc. and telling them to play hockey. Sure, the group’s been given all the tools to play but they don’t understand the game. I can go to accounting, marketing, and managerial classes all day long but unless I’m shown what to do with the tools given, I’m worthless to the working world.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good solution to this problem. Perhaps more scenario work and situational training in school would help.

In answer to your question, yes, I do feel these school programs are in need of reformation.

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