Is MBA necessary to be Successful in Business?

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According to the Oxford Dictionary, a manager is a person who is responsible for controlling or administering an organization or group of staff. Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an academic discipline which trains students and professional, over duration of one or two year, for a career in management or business administration. However, it is highly contested that management cannot be taught in classrooms as it is an art rather than science. 

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Arguments in Favor:

  • According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, in analysis and ranking of the performance of 2,000 CEOs around the globe, the CEOs who had an MBA on average ranked 40 places higher than CEOs who didn’t have an MBA.
  • To transit from a mid level position to a managerial position an MBA degree becomes critical as Business schools work extremely hard at getting their students into the job market. They employ squads of recruiters. Harvard, for instance, has 17 full-time staff and 24 part-time counselors to help 900 students find suitable jobs.
  • The rigorous curriculum of an MBA programme which includes case discussions, group exercises, internships, quizzes and various other competitions prepare students to become effective managers.
  • In the course of the programme a slew of real business cases are discussed in an MBA curriculum which impart students the prudence to deal with such situations in their career.
  • The objective of an MBA education is not only limited to accelerate career growth of enrolled individuals but also to develop competent professional managers who could prove their excellence in any sector while contributing to the welfare of the larger society. A survey of 1,500 MBA students in 2015 by Bain & Company found 66% of women and 59% of men planned to put positive social impact ahead of financial gains. 
  • Tim Cook (CEO of Apple), Mary T. Barra (CEO of General Motors Company) and C. Douglas McMillon (CEO of Walmart) are some of top global managers of fortune 500 companies who hold an MBA degree.
  • Mrs. Chanda Kochhar (CEO of ICICI Bank), Indra Nooyi (chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo), Sanjeev Bhikchandani (founder of and Shikha Sharma (MD, CEO, Axis Bank) are some of the successful Indian business leaders who are MBA graduates from premier B-schools. 
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Arguments Against

  • Though MBA curriculum provides a closer to reality assessment of business world but nothing teaches better than a real life experience. Prominent leaders attribute their success to experience, business acumen and prudence rather than to a degree.
  • Business schools now find themselves criticized from several directions: for paying too much attention to the return on their students' investment, for example, and yet for not giving value for money; for being too academic, and for being too concerned with teaching basic practical skills.
  • Henry Mintzberg, a professor at Canada's McGill University, in his new book “Managers Not MBAs”, argues that conventional MBA courses offer “specialised training in the functions of business, not general educating in the practice of management”. The students are often too young and inexperienced to learn skills that, in any case, are often easier to acquire in the workplace than sitting in a classroom.
  • Many prominent global business leaders namely Warren Buffett, Herb Kelleher, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, ,Oprah Winfrey and many more, who are considered to be the paragons of leadership do not possess an MBA degree.  

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