Do MBA’s make better managers or business leaders? The MBA debate continues furiously. So is the popularity of MBA programs worldwide. Though popular the management studies might be they make a very minuscule percent of successful CEO’s and business leaders compared to legendary leaders of business who are non MBA’s.
An MBA degree is at best a degree which due to its expensiveness and academic entry barriers attracts the top 5% of the students who are generally good in disciplined academics. The HR fraternity mistakenly thinks because they constitute the top of the academic populace, especially the premium Management Educational Institutes in the world, they must be good.
The usefulness of the management education program has been hard to measure and evaluate. While it cannot be denied the stress on analytical abilities and concepts does give a broad view of what constitutes management, one can also learn the same through self studies easily if one can only exercise the disciplines of the academics into one’s own lifestyle.
While we may have some big names who are business management graduates from the top global institutions, we also have the legends like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs to mention a few while no major names who are MBA’s come to mind as easily. Even Jack Welch of GE fame is a non MBA.
If business success is a matter of knowledge which is what the expensive management education business is touting, the knowledge industry itself is dominated by people who have hardly been to a management school and made a big success of it.
The legendary Peter Drucker does not come from a management educational background. Most of his management thought comes from practical observation of the business in action as a consultant and researcher. The management principles and theories propounded by him are taught in the management schools. His managerial thinking is at least 30 years ahead as some of his thoughts written even in the 50’s is only now recognized as indispensable to running a business.
On the other side of the coin is the MBA’s running companies like the GE, entire nation as in the case of President George Bush or the top global consulting organizations. How successfully is a moot point?
While the contribution of the MBA’s cannot be denied in the mid levels, the leadership abilities are questionable. The phenomenal salaries and perks associated with the MBA’s and the HR skewer towards them ignores the potential available and learning ability of the entire workforce. If the same amount of money and resources are spent in training and developing the non MBA workforce, organizations may be able to develop more leaders at a lower cost.