Sunday, February 09, 2014

Book Review: The MBA Bubble

The MBA Bubble, by Mariana Zanetti is about the only serious or significant book warning against the costs and consequences of getting an MBA.  Readers here are already too aware of the education bubble and through reading either "Worthless" or my tirades against MBA's, you are fully inoculated against making such a mistake.  However, for people contemplating an MBA, especially those who already have their undergraduate and are driftless in their professional lives, this book is a must just like a Polio vaccination.

Mariana writes from experience getting herself an MBA several years ago at a highly ranked program in Europe.  She talks about the program, her experiences, etc., but more importantly for readers the consequences and post-MBA observations.

She explains how the schools make it seem like you should be HONORED to be accepted into their program and have the "right" to blow $100,000 on a two year program.  She discusses how much personal time and effort is expended, where you sacrifice everything else in life to earn that almighty MBA.  Then there is the job hunt where you slowly realize the whole thing was a masturbatory hogwash for professors who have no real world experience to screw you out of enough money you could have bought a house.  And that is where the real lessons come in.

Career service centers that don't have any real jobs to offer you.  The painassery in attending "job fairs" and networking events.  The "hidden labor market" where you soon realize it is who you know, not what you know that gets you a job.  And how employers love business schools because they generate obedient little cogs to put into their machine.  Because of these experiences and observations, not only does the book serve as a warning to any would-be MBA pursuers, but as therapy for those unfortunate enough to have fallen for the MBA scam.

The only complaints I have are two:

1.  My review has much more hatred, anger, and color in it than her book.  She is nowhere near as angry and vicious as she should be.  Or maybe she is, but does not allow it to show through her reading.  She should be LIVID over just how she (and an entire generation) got screwed over, and should have eviscerated her school, her professors, and the entire industry.  Instead she is overly polite, way too timid, and constantly provides caveats about "not all schools are like this" or "I definitely enjoyed my experience, but."

2.  It sounds more like a diary than an expose.  She does a great job telling stories from the front lines and her experiences, but delves a bit too deeply into them and the emotional consequences, telling her personal story.  Naturally this could be because I am an impatient, angry, hate-filled man, and women readers may  actually like this aspect of it, but I personally was saying, "yeah, yeah, get to the point."

In short, this book would not be for any regular readers here on Cappy Cap (because we've known about the education bubble for about a decade now), but is a must for anybody either currently in or contemplating getting an MBA.  My minor criticisms (opinions, actually) aside, the book is precisely what is needed in today's education industry and should be read by every undergraduate thinking about grad school.  Of course, it is a self-published piece, and it goes against the trillion dollar annual scam academia has set up, so don't expect it to get out there through the traditional channels.  It will be up to you to buy it or recommend it to a pertinent reader.


Anonymous said...

Bob Wallace said...

The first job I had out of college, I worked for an MBA from a Top 5 school. He was a catastrophe and didn't have a clue that he was. The degree is worthless.

Anonymous said...

I cant really see how one could really understand finance, on anything more than a superficial level, without an MBA.
An MBA is expensive, certainly, and more than a few mediocre to poor universities sell them to the local business community.
And just as with CPAs, JDs, or other advanced degree holders, a few MBAs are arrogant, abrasive, or egotistical, particularly towards the types who may already resent them. Bad management, really, to be hated.
But I notice most critics of the MBA designation dont have one themselves, nor have even a clue as to what we studied.
Bark about our existence all you'd like, but a good MBA degree is priceless.
The career center at my school was terrific. The quant methods and data driven, real world studies I engaged in, along with our team projects, were even more valuable.
MBAs arent valued so highly by so many because theyre useless. Quite the contrary.

steve said...

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Anonymous said...

When I was getting my STEM degrees, I was laughed at for getting "useless" degrees and used to be asked on a regular basis including by brothers what the ROI on education was!!! We in the STEM's knew what fluff MBA's were and this was in the mid 90's and everybody was jumping on the business school bandwagon. But, what was galling was then and as now, is that an MBA still moves an employee up a pay grade or two into management positions. For example, I know of an acquaintance who has an engineering degree got promoted into a management position because she got her MBA and that from an online fly-by-night school. She works for a Fortune 500 company.
Even when I was in grad school, many us were noticing that there is going to be an MBA-glut in the future and a lot of online private schools are producing so much of these cookie cutter MBA degrees that it has in your words made the degree "worthless"!!!
I am in my mid 40's and it is only now that my skill set is being highly sought after,but it is too late for me and I like to start my own business.But,I have never come across an environment that is so stifling making it difficult to be an entrepreneur and innovate.

Cogitans Iuvenis said...

From the words of an actual professor.

"Undergraduate business classes ... are just a charade; 19-year-olds play as if they are chief executives of General Electric. It is a waste of time and money."

Daniel D said...

On the same lines, some more details about the cost of... not exactly education (this is what your parents give you) but instruction

Nadine said...

Back when I was at the university and contemplating the "new" advanced degree of MBA - Masters of Business Administration, I attended an informational session where the lofty gentleman telling us all about the program shared with us that, in 1968, according to him... there were +/- 800 or so MBAs in the WHOLE COUNTRY.

I did not pursue the degree however I have never forgotten this comment. Says a lot.

I agree that this education is best had from the ground up in actual grunt to owner - and the cost of pursuing any real college education given the cost(s) involved is rarely worth it anymore. Live small and save much.

Derp said...

Do you have any thoughts on more specialized business/quant Masters in Econ, Financial Engineering/Computational Finance/Math Finance, applied math, or applied stats?