How useful is an MBA?

The MBA is definitely a valuable qualification when used properly and in conjunction with other factors.  I’m certain that my MBA won me two very good jobs and allowed me to become a permanent resident in this country.  However, it was my creativity, flexibility and willingness to take on more and more challenging work that really allowed me to achieve in business.

I attended a get-together of newly minted MBA’s last summer and I was shocked at the general lack of understanding about real business issues and market conditions.  They had the piece of paper, but those who had gone straight into their postgraduate studies without experiencing the business world were severely handicapped in real world skills.  When I set up my own business eight years ago, I found that nobody really cared if I had an MBA or not.  They just wanted the value that I had to offer.

What people are really looking for in a business partner or supplier is a sense that they are getting the best possible products and services at the best possible price.  In a highly competitive market such as ours, many business propositions sound similar, so it is hard to distinguish one from another.  And with so many MBA’s running around, it is hard to distinguish one from another based on academic qualifications alone.

Therefore MBA’s are important but not necessarily the university kind.  I think there could be an even more valuable meaning for MBA than the academic definition.  How about Mastery, Beliefs and Authority?

Mastery is certainly important.  Real mastery means the person has lots of real and relevant experience.  There is no substitute for that when faced with a challenge.  Remembering theories from textbooks is unlikely to do the trick. 

Beliefs have traditionally been sorely underrated in our society.  But with the advent of blogging, social networking and online video, people are starting to trust the opinions of people they respect.  I know business people who have chosen suppliers based on interesting, unique perspectives on blog entries!  Not scientific, you say?  Well, consumers seem to be moving away from left-brain, scientific decision making and following their gut feeling a lot more.  So, it is worth thinking about sharing your beliefs about important issues in your industry, as well as demonstrating mastery in your field..

When you combine mastery in your subject area with a healthy dose of beliefs and expert opinions, you will be seen as a real thought leader, or an authority in your field.  Having an MBA from a reputable institution is optional.

For more information take a look at Mindy’s website: