A competitive edge Arthur Kraft, dean of the Argyros School of Business at Chapman, says an MBA has become an almost essential job tool.
in business today are looking for a leg up,” he says. “If all other
things are equal between two candidates for a job, the one with the MBA
is going to get it.”
Business leaders have three primary
reasons for seeking an MBA, according to Linda Livingstone, dean of the
Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University,
Irvine branch. They are: • To improve job skills in hopes of creating advancement opportunities within a current company • To transition to a new company or perhaps a new field • To move into entrepreneurship, creating one’s own business instead of trying to climb someone else’s corporate ladder
Hands-on training All
these education leaders agree that it’s not the letters on the resume
that mean so much: It’s the education they represent. Employers
recognize that the degree holder has achieved a significant hurdle that
includes a great deal of classroom work with practical experience.
Pepperdine, one program teams MBA candidates with private companies
that often produce ideas created by the students. Chapman has similar
“A lot of MBA students have never been given a
chance to prove what kind of leadership they have in them,” says Kraft.
“But they get to practice that at the MBA program in an environment
that’s more compact, perhaps less threatening than maybe [in] the
corporate world, and it gives them a chance to develop those skills.”
Economic drivers It
may surprise some, but “bad job market” and “poor economy” are not
cited by these schools as key reasons given by people seeking an MBA. In
fact, those numbers are down, says Muse. But it can be a factor.
Besack runs a strategic marketing consulting firm. While the economy
didn’t kill her one-woman company, it did persuade her that she could
get more clients if she learned to better serve those she has.
A return on investment? Not everybody is persuaded that the MBA is the way to go.
consultant Penelope Trunk stirred debate recently when CBS’ Money Watch
website picked up her pitch: “Why an MBA is a waste of time and money.”
Trunk is founder of Wisconsin-based Brazen Careerist, a social network
for young professionals.
Her reasoning: Unless you earn your
MBA from a Top Ten school, the degree won’t increase earning power
enough to offset the high cost of earning it.
go to business school with no plan for their career graduate with no
plan for their career,” Trunk says. “And then you look not just lost but
Also from Trunk: “An MBA is useless for most jobs. It makes you unqualified for more jobs than it qualifies you for.”