Some of the world’s most accomplished don’t have a fancy degree. Bill Gates started Microsoft at 19, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and founded Facebook, Steve Jobs founded Apple in his garage. If you’re dogged by the question of an MBA, S.Deepika explores the value of the degree through a myriad of lenses
“An MBA doesn’t impress me. A GSD does. GSD = Gets Stuff Done.” —Christine Comaford-Lynch, serial entrepreneur and investor in over 200 companies
With student debt crushing people, it is important to know what aspirants are really receiving for the money they invest. To many, an MBA is still worth the money for assets like social skills, critical thinking, business tenets, and specialized knowledge that you gain from. But for those who are conflicted about going for the degree versus the road not taken, how do you foresee the outcome of your choice? Maybe you can’t, so we bring the purported outcomes to you.
Today, any credential is rather a blunt instrument because they reflect the assessment (and conception) of skills from technical educators who often teach by rule instead of emphasizing experience.
Hence, it is no surprise that some mavericks are quick to wave off the formal degree. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “colleges aren’t meant for learning but rather a place to have fun,” during a conversation at the satellite 2020 conference. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in 2019 that about half of Apple’s US employment last year included people without four-year degrees.
To gain some perspective, we spoke to Haritha Maheshkumar, a product manager at Amazon Inc., who said, “We’re a society obsessed with labels. That reflects to an extent in the corporate sector when companies demand Tier 1 MBAs for certain positions. While this isn’t an ideal state, it is a filter that assumes that everyone with an MBA possesses the skills, street smartness, and personality needed for the job. Perhaps it works out probabilistically, but companies forget we’re talking about human professionals who have their own diverse journeys and experiences that would make them suitable for the job, even without that MBA.”
According to her, it may take a few additional years, but with consistency and focus, candidates can crack that barrier without the label of an MBA. The real question was if companies were consciously moving away from the label and displaying the same open-mindedness and daring they so often expect from candidates.
She also sheds some light on the future of the MBA. “Unfortunately, it isn’t going anywhere for quite some time. But the light at the end of the tunnel is a significant increase in corporate leaders who are willing to invest in individuals who show potential – and value their intentional past experiences, which tend to validate their leap of faith. A little bit of networking to meet such leaders goes a long way.”
Praful, a student of MBA at Murdoch university and region revenue head at Builder.ai, a software development firm, said that he began pursuing his MBA because of professional gaps he faced at work which were limiting his possibilities. For him, an MBA will be a cherry on top of his existing skills to get to the top positions.
As per his prediction, MBA will not lose its relevance at least for the next 50 years because the course teaches you leadership, sustainability, and managerial skills, which he believes are quite useful and relevant to the work he does. In addition, this training gives most applicants a competitive edge when applying for jobs.
“People with knowledge on sustainability, global business, accounting, and other themes can expect professional success in their future,” he added.
While the present is undisturbed, the MBA course must evolve itself to fit in with the needs of employers and potential industries to stay relevant as a degree. So, where do you think the future of the MBA is headed?