Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why MBA Is Not All Good

Blogger Ivan said...

What was so important about academic, if MBA is not so call important?
11:23 AM
Academic achievement is good provided it is part of an well rounded education. I have had to hire many people for various roles, analysts, sales traders, etc... To me, a degree tells me you can read and write (I hope), thats all. Nowadays, a number of graduates can read and write, maybe write horribly, but cannot even carry a conversation in simple English. I say that as English is a business language, and I am talking about business graduates primarily.
In some developed nations and some high-esteemed corporations / GLCs, they value the pedigree degree from the Top 20 universities globally because they get to pick from the cream of the crop. Fine, if thats the kind of graduates you want. In the end, you want performers, enthusiastic workers, people who think outside the box, people who can work around issues and problems, good interpersonal skills ... street smartness. We all know that a degree will not tell you any of those quality.
I think why Robert Kuok frowns upon MBAs is that an MBA gives a person who has had some biz background a sort of license that they are now biz experts, which is clearly a silly proposition. The most galling thing to me about MBAs is the "schematic way of thinking through problems". Got an issue, lets do a data collection and analyse them. Lets do a client testing before rolling out a product, do a client survey, etc... All these while inherently OK, are all ass-covering methods of doing business. I believe Steve Jobs would not have rolled out the iPhone, iPad if he had a room full of MBAs.
If you put an entire room full of analysts, fund managers and bankers with a company that wants to boost its liquidity, valuation and raise funds - how many will come up with the right solutions. There are textbook solutions which will prescribe the usual: bonus, placements, new share issues, analysts coverage, press coverage, etc. MBAs will always attack everything with financial modelling, variance and regression analysis, case studies, client surveys, ... cause thats what they have been trained to do.

The ones that get to achieve more in their careers will go further to focus on potential dilution, company's branding, management's perception in the market place, concentration of business in value-add segments, margin maintenance, longevity of market share/penetration/growth of segment, their place in the ladder of competitiveness, and get to the real end objectives of the owners (fear of losing control, no money or don't want to spend their own money, family control issues, lack of foresight/drive).
To do all that well, an MBA will not get you there, its the interpersonal skills, the connection you can make with people. Basic concepts, knowledge are just basic tools for you to leverage on.


Cina said...

Hi Dali..

You know I got the tickets but looks like I won't be able to attend the seminar on Saturday. Good luck..

Crispin Paul said...

I appreciated your kind way of knowledge.Great Stuff Here..hope more to come.

Texas angel investor

walla said...

It's the old academic-practical question. But there is a difference. The MBA can with observation and mentoring become more street-smart but the street-smart without proper training cannot do the academic things the MBA can.

Kuok was a savvy commodity trader during his days. But if he is to present at an analyst conference today, he won't be able to answer with industry-wide terms the questions they will throw at him.

The last part of what the blogger wrote to say the street-smart can do this and that ..actually how many nonMBA street-smarts think enough like that to be able to know what to do next to get quantitative answers to acceptable levels of confidence?

Unless what is being pushed here is some zen-like qualitative personal insight seared out of big-time losses rehashed as street-smart wisdom.

But street-smart wisdom is about three chapters; MBA is at least three-hundred. And that's how investors have been looking at proposals since they have to answer on what basis they would plough in billions.

A lot of the success stories is by reverse engineering. Karma, luck, and dogged persistence lead to one big killing out of fifty, and it's success to be reverse engineered into some nice homilies.

In the end, arc knowledge-practice with culture. Then imponderable forces will be the only variable left.

No links, this one.

Salvatore_Dali said...

Fair comment Walla,

I am not into bashing MBAs, its the rote learning of methods that removes the fine art of business dealings. The inability to use their tools for the softer skills required.

Its true, you probably can find 1 or 2 out of 10 MBAs who are also street smart. You would need 100 street smart personnel to get four or five that can do what an MBA can without getting one.

True or not, most MBAs end up working for the street smarts.

clk said...

MBAs does have its critic, even within the Unis; Henry Mintzberg being one of the well known ones. Many are now seen as money churning schools especially those with fresh graduates as students without sufficient work experience.

walla said...

'True or not, most MBAs end up working for the street smarts.'

Maybe it's because the street smarts are stupid enough to take plunging and quantitatively unsupportable big risks while the MBAs analyze until paralyzed.

Or maybe street smarts are more observant and manipulative of human behaviour but MBAs conduct their activities like ossified ostrichs?

..just wordplay, this post.

Simon said...

MBA or not. This is not important.
Money is doing all the talking. Education is one component to make you easy to success. But getting a PhD doesn't proof you are successful. Gaining most wealth among other shown you are successful.

I have not cover this yet with happiness.

emacro said...

How many MBAs were working at Lehman Bros, Arthur Andersen, LTCM, MCI Worldcom, Enron Corp

The MBA qualification is a means to an end, to land a BETTER paying job.

But the vicissitudes of life remain the same, the 10% get most of the wealth while 90% make up the numbers. Like in financial markets trading 90% will lose $ (eventually) with 10% the winners, MBA or not.

Unknown said...

"Its true, you probably can find 1 or 2 out of 10 MBAs who are also street smart. You would need 100 street smart personnel to get four or five that can do what an MBA can without getting one."

Monsieur Dali,

A different stats to look at.
1. How many among Malaysia 40 riches have MBA?

2. How many MBAs vs Street smart type do they employ among them.


raza wala said...

Good post.some informative material about MBA study in Malaysia

echpoh said...

yes true but what if u need an MBA to get a job in a particular field of work? u would still need MBA even if ur street smart... The MBA is not for you but more for your employers right?

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