Why MBA?

What we discuss in management schools whether it’s Finance, Marketing, HR or Operations, has its roots in one or the other core science. Finance is Economics, Marketing and HR are Psychology and Operations is Industrial Engineering. Management Science is nothing but application of principles from these core sciences to solve executional problems faced by managers. So, if all the theories taught in management schools have reference to a mother discipline from sciences, why MBA? Why do companies pay a premium to hire management graduates when what they actually do is essentially derived from pure sciences? Why not hire science, psychology and engineering graduates and train them to do what companies what them to do? 

Long back I read somewhere that an MBA doubles your value. For example, if you could earn 5 lakhs as a fresh engineer, an MBA qualification can double it to around 10 lakhs. Not a bad deal, right? For an initial investment worth 10-12 lakhs if one can double his cash inflows perpetually (for the rest of working life!), well the mad rush for pursuing MBA is absolutely justified. But personally I have some reservation against this ‘net present value’ form of calculation for measuring real worth of MBA education. Going back to our discussion on what management is all about, it takes nothing but an ability to learn and make decisions at work. Execution (a super-cool jargon hyped by b-school folks) is the ability to handle ambiguity in that decision making process. Because if machines and systems could have handled every task, we would not need educated people to run companies (organizations is better here!). But that is never the case. No company can leave the so-called execution to machines. No big data can ever solve problems of why customers do not want your services any more. No analytics can answer how to counter the competitors who are doing so well in the market. These are decisions where a ‘group of people (teams)’ have to arrive at a decision before putting the foot forward. Still, our initial question remains unanswered, do these ‘group of people’ have to be Masters of Business Administration’?

Several forms of organizations from varied spheres like Defence, Theatre, Sports etc. also undergo similar decision dilemmas. Performers in these organizations (the Soldiers, the artists and the sportsmen) are not (often not) MBAs. But then they have to go through decision making process before putting the foot forward. Are we therefore missing out on something in evaluating the importance of management education? Do we really need it and if yes, in what form? 

Certainly, MBA education is an enriching experience in terms of peer group learning and cross-disciplinary exposure. But it cannot simply increase your value simply because you have ended-up possessing a gamut of these experiences. Business schools of modern day aspire to, and also deliberate substantial efforts, but they cannot make you better decision makers unless you have realized that MBA is all about facing decision dilemmas. Getting into group tasks, exchanging ideas, joining clubs and building lasting connections makes it happen. Of course if the fundamentals (understanding of concepts) are missing, you fail to perform (grades!). You don’t even make it to your dream company’s interview process. Therefore MBA to me is about Mastering Balancing Act. Be there. Do that. Because your professors in b-school might not be able to teach you this subtle funda! 

Author: anilkshatriyablog

I work as Assistant Professor in the area of Accounting at IMT Nagpur. I love teaching, writing and cycling. I follow a simple principle, 'Help ever, hurt never'.

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