That “infographic” that we mentioned last week got us all heated up when we first saw it. It’s definitely making the case that the MBA is worth it. But here are the most obvious flaws in the reasoning:
1. As stated before, it’s focusing on the few breakout success stories — in both categories. The Bill Gateses and the Jim McNernys or Phil Condits (Boeing CEOs with MBAs). These are the elite of the elite. They’re not offering any proof that an MBA led to the success of one class (or not having one oppressed or restricted the success of another).
2. Sure, 36% of Fortune 500 CEOs have MBAs…. but that means that 64% do not!!! This is so obvious it’s ridiculous.
3. Lifetime earning for MBAs is a very impressive $3.2M… but that’s only $500k more than what an undergrad degree holder would earn. That really doesn’t seem like much when you’re comparing “lifetimes.” Plus, does this factor in the cost of getting the MBA? And most disturbing is that tiny footnote at the bottom about how it’s tracking only salaries for the top ten best-earning bschools!! Hello! This is proving what?
If they’re trying to make the case that getting an MBA is worth it… they need to do more. By now you’ve probably seen the article from BusinessWeek comparing what graduates of the best programs make, compared to all the other schmucks coming out with oodles of debt. There it is, in black and white, stating very clearly that the rankings do in fact matter, at least where ROI is concerned.
Here’s another recent article with the doomsday-sounding title “Could this be the end of the MBA as we know it?” (this one from The Independent in the UK – you can almost hear the Brit writer’s accent as you read it, can’t you?). This one is interesting is it talks about the shift in emphasis underway at MBA programs, from the mechanics of business education like accounting and stats, to the “touchy-feely” aspects (that’s a Stanford term, BTW – they should practically copyright it).
Obviously we believe in the MBA. We believe in the EDUCATION. The transformation, as that last article alluded to, and so many great schools emphasize. So many Brave Supplicants focus on the network, the employers that recruit on campus, etc. Those are important too. But you’re considering getting an MBA in order to expand your mind or some such, right??