Sunday, 16 November 2008

Why I Won't Do An MBA

There was once I asked my god daughter if she was interested in doing an MBA. She said "definitely not". She came to that decision after having close encounters with an MBA grad whose realm of knowledge consists of handbags, handbags and only handbags.

I used to have a deep yearning to study for an MBA. I thought having an MBA would open career opportunities for me. I also bought books on MBA and spoke to many MBA students to learn from their experiences.

As I grew older, my interest in doing an MBA started to lapse. This is because of my own experiences with many MBA graduates who did not live up to their name of MBA grad.

I personally know of MBA grads holding senior positions in big corporations who:

  • Thinks that a Six Sigma Black Belt is a martial arts qualification.

  • Argues that in accounting, if the actual amount spent is higher than the amount budgetted, it would be a positive (+) sign instead of a negative (-) sign. OMG!!!

  • Have never heard of Blue Ocean Strategy.

  • Is in-charge of Corporate Social Responsibility but doesn't know what's 'OKU'.

  • Consistently copies what other departments and companies are doing in related areas of work.

  • Speaks like an uneducated person.
(I could go on and on ... but it would only embarass MBA grads everywhere.)

I wonder what did they learn in the 2 years or so studyng for their MBA. Did they use the time to play marbles?

On the other hand I personally know of many non-MBA graduates who have made a mark for themselves in the corporate world without having an MBA tucked under their belt. They are intelligent, well read and matured in their thoughts and actions. Kind of reminds me of the movie Good Will Hunting (look below for a brilliant dialogue from the movie about acquiring knowledge without having formal education).

I'm not saying that doing an MBA is a bad thing and that all MBA graduates are ignorant. It all depends on how the student uses the opportunity to learn as much as possible and make him/herself a more knowledgeable and better person during their MBA studies.

And more importantly to always keep abreast with current affairs by reading, reading and reading after graduating. Learning is something you do from womb to tomb.

At this point in life, I feel that it's not having an MBA that matters, but how interested I am in acquiring knowledge. And I can do all that through many avenues like reading, surfing the internet, attending courses, exchanging ideas with friends, etc.

But also at the end of the day, to climb the corporate ladder, it's not what you know, but who you know that counts.

Brilliant Dialogue from Good Will Hunting

Chuckie: All right, are we gonna have a problem?

Clark: There's no problem. I was just hoping you could give me some insight into the evolution of the market economy in the early colonies. My contention is that prior to the Revolutionary War the economic modalities, especially of the southern colonies could most aptly be characterized as agrarian pre-capitalist and...

Will: [interrupting] Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just got finished some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison prob’ly, you’re gonna be convinced of that until next month when you get to James Lemon, then you’re gonna be talkin’ about how the economies of Virginia and Pennsylvania were entrepreneurial and capitalist back in 1740. That's gonna last until next year, you’re gonna be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood, talkin’ about you know, the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization.

Clark: [taken aback] Well, as a matter of fact, I won't, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of--

Will: ..."Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth..." You got that from "Work in Essex County," Page 98, right? Yeah I read that too. Were you gonna plagiarize the whole thing for us- you have any thoughts of- of your own on this matter? Or do - is that your thing, you come into a bar, you read some obscure passage and then you pretend - you pawn it off as your own - your own idea just to impress some girls? Embarrass my friend?
[Clark is stunned]

Will: See the sad thing about a guy like you, is in about 50 years you’re gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don't do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin’ education you coulda' got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.

Clark: Yeah, but I will have a degree, and you'll be serving my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.

Will: [smiles] Yeah, maybe. But at least I won't be unoriginal.


Salt N Turmeric said...

The real smart people with masters and/or phd wont go around announcing to everybody what qualifications they have. But those with and yet not-so-smart in real life tend to boast kan?

Itulah yg susah when you start thinking tht just because you have the paper qualifications, ur smart. Some things need real life experience before you can master it.

Julie Lim said...

I totally agree with you.

The smart ones are ones who don't brag about what they know. They have a cool demeanour about themselves.

The MBA grads whom I know don't seem embarassed that they make a fool of themselves with their ignorance!

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