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Is the MBA losing its appeal?


I have just read a blog by Rita McGrath at Harvard Business Review. She was commenting on the article published in the Wall Street Journal claiming that the appeal of MBAs has been diminishing over time with more and more business schools mushrooming in the US and globally. I am attaching the link to the article itself below:

In my opinion as I have outlined in my previous blog, there are more advantages than drawbacks to doing an MBA. However, I do tend to agree that the supply of MBA degrees seems to have outweighed the demand for them. Moreover, a lot of the offered degrees are not fully accredited and the universities providing them are not the highest ranking in their region and in the world.

I believe that doing an MBA is only really worth it when you decide to take this course from a high ranking university. I have personally considered schools from the top ten in the UK. To some degree, I concur with people who claim that the value of an MBA is not all about the university ranking – however, think about it – which school will stand out on your CV to a potential employer – The London Business School or unknown school X just that has just recently diversified into offering MBA courses.

It is all about people psychology – the majority of people would select a candidate with the top B-school mentioned on their CV even though he may not be the most intelligent of the applicants. But the appearances still matter. This is especially the case in such vain industries as finance and sales.

I had a friend who completed their MBA at a low ranking school in the UK – a very cleaver, creative and entrepreneurial girl. She had given up her high income full-time job to dedicate herself entirely to her one-year MBA course with the hope and confidence she would get a better job after the course. This has not materialised. She later told me that at interviews, employers were not impressed with her distinction level MBA and openly asked why she had chosen this school instead of the LBS, CASS or Warwick.

Such is the story of our world – everything still seems to be superficially based on appearances, strong brands and self-marketing. Shame, but to survive and stand out, we need to be able to fit in.

Dasha Amrom

One Thought on “Is the MBA losing its appeal?

  1. Ahmad Bhatti on January 26, 2013 at 3:21 am said:

    Change without pain is impossible!

    We need to understand the dynamics of today’s working environment, especially when the economic indicators in Europe are not very helpful. Being stuck at the same career level and finding it hard to move around and up, I was frustrated. But then I thought there was not point being frustrated as I could live such a life for many more years to come, so it was time to change. But change does not come without pain……

    I decided to brush up my skills and personality and opted to go for an MBA. Then it was a matter of finding the right balance of value and money, I was lucky enough to choose a reputed business school that I could afford with some financial stretching.

    I found business school a very interesting place. The majority of the students have funding from their employers and minority is self-funded. This means that majority of the students are pushed into MBA and only minority believing in its true value. I remained calm and this is why MBA provided me the followings;
    – Time Management Skills: I can sit in any interview and be proud of my time management skills. I don’t think that anyone can argue that managing work, study, and young family is a piece of cake!
    – Enriched Business Knowledge: There is a difference between just looking at the Ferrari and know what technology actually makes it Ferrari. It is amazing that now when I walk into any shop or business, I see how the processes are actually working rather than just looking at the business name or thinking about what do I need to buy!
    – Confidence: The knowledge I acquired from my studies provided me the tremendous confidence to stand out in the crowd i.e. my work place. I knew more so I could do more for my workplace. I started engaging with senior management, started doing assignments on our company, started developing professional relationships. This approach also helped me get practical insight while I was learning theories.
    – Incredible Network: I met many professionals during my MBA but I only picked the believers. I was inspired by many and they kept me going because it was not an easy task especially for such a long time period.

    I proved myself knowledgeable and valuable to my company and remained constantly in touch with the management. After finishing my MBA, I worked on all the possible options. My compnay has now appointed me in China for one year as a management consultant to manage its Joint Venture. It provides me the desired platform to apply my MBA skills to manage the stakeholders relationship, operations, marketing, sales, and of course Chinese workforce.

    One of my friend asked me a question “Ahmad, do you think that you wasted your time and money and could get this chance even without doing an MBA?” and my reply was only one word “No”!

    I kind of disagree with Dasha’s comment “Such is the story of our world – everything still seems to be superficially based on appearances, strong brands and self-marketing. Shame, but to survive and stand out, we need to be able to fit in.” To me, it is all about belief. If you believe in yourself and you believe in the power of knowledge then nothing can stop you. Saying that, my belief was shattered many many times but I was blessed to get back on track.

    MBA does not only mean better job and more money but it rather means better person. No one can take it back from you and it is yours forever. I think even if I don’t get a chance to manage any business, at least I will be able to manage my life better.

    Change with pain is impossible but keep believing and you will not be disappointed.

    Ahmad Bhatti

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