Tuesday, February 09, 2021

All Business Schools Should be Bulldozed

It's a couple years old, but I'm going to read it later.


A Texan said...

I don't know, I'd say most of academia needs to be bulldozed, including STEM.

The stupidity has been infectious. Just as 'inclusion and dumb-versity' seeped from the government sector to the private sector.

I loved the list of MBA acronyms like Master Bullshit Artist, More Bad Advice, etc.

HOSP said...

"All Business Schools Should be Bulldozed". Yes. Outside of the Liberal Arts degrees, which are worthless, the MBA is worthless too. Realized in my career how worthless MBAs were, when I had to deal with people who earned that degree. The majority these degree holders didn't know squat about running a business, because, I knew more about the business I was working in at the time than they did. Truly amazing that I was more profitable, managed and lead people better than these wunderkids with my little ol' STEM degrees. So my 2 cents of advice is go buy the "Dummies" book "Starting a Business" by Eric Tyson for $20 on Amazon. There are other Dummies books on Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, and Marketing there too, for around $20-$25 range. Get a book on creating LLCs too. For about $150 to $200 dollars, you can get all the information you need about starting, managing, and leading your own bidness, versus paying and going in debt for a $100+K MBA. Or if you want the classroom experience, find online classes in these subject areas. It will still save you money, and give you a better ROI for your time and money in the long run. Plus you don't waste 1-4 years (full-time or part-time MBA programs), and get your business up an running sooner. Who wants to work for a corporation these days? Not me. Be your own boss.

Another useless degree is the J.D. I find more people I know who have earned that degree, regret it now (Many of the lawyers I know hate their jobs, or have left the profession). The ROI on that graduate degree is not good for most degree recipients. Many end up in more debt (over $150K easily). Plus as a group, lawyers like to talk a tough game, but when real risk is involved, at least from what I have observed professionally, most fold like a cheap suit. They are so risk adverse.

Anonymous said...

Generally love your column, but, unless you are willing to start your own business, and very few are willing to do that, you need an MBA, JD or grad degree if you actually want to succeed. And I don't mean making $80k in a 2nd or 3rd tier city, I mean having real success.

I have a BA in math from (top tier uni), and an MBA from (another top tier uni). The MBA plugged holes in my education. Absent the MBA, I would not have achieved as I did. In my first CFO role, I turned around a money losing telco. I fixed it, remargined it, and sold it. Shareholders would have gotten zero after a bankruptcy; they got $75M because of the efforts of the C-suite and our Board. All of us have MBAs.

Look - if you want to run a business that is small, skip the MBA. Junior college business classes or online classes will teach you accounting, HR and ops management. If you want to walk on Wall Street or play in the Fortune 1000, get the MBA. Then, and only then, will you get your place at the table. Otherwise, you will sit on the sidelines.

If you think you'll learn nothing from an MBA, you are a fool. Taking B-school classes teaches you how 1) business actually works, 2) how different people (head of sales, VP finance, VP ops, etc.) think, and 3) how to play the political games. If you think that you can just walk into a senior level role and BS your way through, good luck. You won't get your foot in the door. You have to earn it, and part of that is the MBA. Yes, you need to get your ticket punched.

For entrepreneurs, great, go w/o the b-school education. Bill Gates, Mark Zuck, Bezos, Buffet, great - better men than me. But if you're reading this, you aren't on the Forbes 400,000, let alone the 400. If you want to play w/ the big boys and you don't want to start your own company, then you will need the MBA.

Aaron: my MBA cost $75k. When I started, my salary was $84,000. When I left b-school, it was $115k. In my next role, it was $130k, then $175k, then $240k, then $260k. I made $675k in the year I sold the Telco company, 13 years after earning the MBA. As you say, do the math. Less than 3 years after the start, not the finish, of my program, I'd made back the cash investment. What discount rate do you need to use to make my return less than my investment?

Tucanae Services said...

I tend to agree with A Texan. Not because I don't think schools should be bulldozed but because I think the method of delivery is a disaster and topics are not broad enough.

For example. Most Biz schools focus on efficiency of delivery to maximize profits. This mindset goes all the way back to Taylor of the 1870's. The problem is what is never discussed is the fragility that is incurred in becoming specialized. Just like species of animals can be wiped out by a change in environment so too can a business enterprise that is too specialized. That kind of risk is rarely discussed and never quantified.

Then there is the issue of do you really need 2+ yrs of Bschool to solve single point problems? Best order quantity analysis? A 7 week seminar using common inventory mgt software is probably more appropriate followed X hours of consulting. Pick a biz topic and it can probably be turned into webinar training session.

I have an MBA and I have to say I only use maybe 25% of the items presented to me do I utilize on a day to day basis.

FU said...

@Anonymous: Good post; I was also Math/MBA. Of course, the opportunity cost of your degree was a bit higher, and the sticker prices have doubled. But you got a great return.

That article was idiotic. Business schools have changed in response to demand. The M.B.A. degree got diluted, so the popular degrees are specialty masters. They are shorter, allow deeper technical focus, and get students entry level management jobs, i.e., spreadsheet monkeys.

Many humanities students (including math majors) are smart, with no skills. Traditionally, students didn't know what they wanted to do, and business school offered a suite of courses and internship to figure it out. You learn accounting and spreadsheets, a little economics, statistics, optimization, and a lot of lingo and Powerpoint.

The lifetime ROI on specialty business masters and J.D.'s is surprisingly high.

FU said...

@Tucanae: "I have an MBA and I have to say I only use maybe 25%."

And what percentage of your 4-year college degree or high school degree do you use?

Most months, I only wear 25% of my clothes. But I am glad to have a bathing suit or winter boots when needed.