Should I do an MBA?… (don’t)
I was talking to someone the other day who was saying how amazing someone was and how he was worth the money he was paid because he came top of his MBA class at Wharton. No doubt that is an impressive thing, and I am sure that guy will make a great employee one day. Did it impress me? not at all. Quite the opposite.
Nothing except results should impress you, least of all words or titles.
To answer your question quickly the answer is no. Here is a video of lots of people like Elon Musk saying why MBAs are a waste of time. And here is an article by Forbes saying that they are on the decline.
Below are my reasons why not to do one.
Reason 1: It is not worth the money
Because the money is way better spent on starting your own company. With MBAs costing up to $200k that is plenty of money to start and run your very own purpose driven company for a year. And if that company does well then you will be fulfilled personally (and way more financially than the increased salary you will get from doing an MBA). If your company fails then you will be able to get a new job for whom starting and running a company will be way more of a draw card than an MBA (note: if companies value an MBA over an entrepreneur with a year of startup experience then they are the wrong company to work for, because they are absolute idiots).
Reason 2: You learn way more by doing.
You learn way more from actually doing than by being told or studying. If you run out of cash you learn about cash flow much more acutely than you do by doing a case study. I did thousands of case studies when I was studying for my ACA (Chartered Accountancy. Yes I am an accountant!… so?! its badass!), advising on ways to manage working capital (the money you have for the day to day running of your company), but I learnt way more by running out of cash all the time and begging the ATO (Australian tax authority) to give me more time to pay the quarterly GST payments. At one point we owed them over $1m, had they asked for it all at once we would have gone bankrupt. This hones the mind.
Reason 3: MBAs result in the wrong thinking
My experience with the 500+ people who worked at one time or another at Tigerspike, having an MBA at best made no difference, or at worst was actually a hindrance. What happens in practice is that when faced with difficult situations (which Tigerspike had many of) they default to their MBA training. And more often than not this training doesn’t produce the right outcomes. Difficult situations require creative and lateral thinking. What trains you for that is running your own company not studying for an MBA, and sometimes the MBA gives you too much confidence (or worse arrogance) so you don’t change your strategy in the face of it not working. Mediocre but arrogant.
Reason 4: You do an MBA to get a better job
Who wants a job these days?. Don’t be an employee when 90% of jobs are unfulfilling, be an employer. A job creator. Start a company. Take that MBA money as startup capital for your company. And if you want a bigger change, come to Bali and start a company (speak to Rebecca at Hatch if you want to). Have a real life changing experience. Starting a company in a different country is a life changing experience that will get you out of the being an employee rat race.
Reason to do an MBA
So is there any reason to do an MBA? yes. To meet people is one. If you want to get married for example and want to meet smart driven people, an MBA isn’t a bad place to find them. Or if you want to meet others and start a company together. Or as an excuse to go live in another country. And you don’t really need to do an MBA to do those things.