MBA – to do or not to do?

“Will an MBA advance my career?”  “Are MBA graduates in demand?”

These are questions we are constantly asked at MD Selection.

In the words of an erstwhile Director of one of the leading Business Schools in South Africa, an MBA is not “a ticket to heaven.”

We agree. Too many people embark on an MBA in search of a better career. The vast majority are at a crossroads in their careers. Often they are unhappy with their choice of undergraduate qualification and are looking for alternatives. Many want to “change lanes” as it were.

These are valid reasons for exploring alternatives, but an MBA is not always the answer. We can quote many examples of disillusionment and failed expectations from people who have done MBA’s without thinking through the reasons for doing so.

We hold many business schools responsible for a large part of this disillusionment: In chasing market share, overzealous recruiting on the part of some schools has created unrealistic expectations.  We hope that this practice has decreased now that the number of business schools has been drastically reduced through accreditation.

An MBA can be advantageous to your career, but not universally so.

As is commonly known, an MBA is “a mile wide but only an inch deep”, so, it gives people a broad overview of the business environment, but it doesn’t create specialist expertise. Invariably it is on-the-job experience that does that.

In our experience, some of the most successful MBA’s are those with engineering undergraduate degrees. It is the amalgam of the ‘art’ and the ‘science’ which adds depth and richness to a person’s profile. The combination of analytical skills with an understanding of business makes for sound operational grounding.

There are other successful academic combinations: the common thread with them all is an understanding AT THE OUTSET of the value that an MBA will add.

Invariably the sought-after MBA graduates will have FULLY INVESTIGATED how  an MBA will advance their career and, in addition, will have-

We believe that this approach is an effective, differentiating tool-kit for furthering one’s career with an MBA.