There is hardly any university worth the name that doesn’t offer an MBA programme. With increasing number of graduates seeking admission there is growing skepticism about the worth of an MBA, that is generally perceived as the most versatile degree that opens many doors of employment. A management professor at McGill, Montreal, Henry Mintzberg, tracked the performance of 19 academically good students of the Harvard Business School (the class of 1990) some 13 years after they graduated (in 2003).
He came up with the conclusion that 10 of the 19 considered themselves “utter failures”, another four rated their performance as “very questionable”, and only five out of the lot did well. The yardstick of success comprised factors such as 1) personal satisfaction with one’s job 2) the respect of one’s peers; and 3) holding a top post – CEO, CFO – at a corporation. Oddly, salary level expectations ranked lower in order of importance; and some MBAs included in their mix of success priorities a capability to make a difference to society.
Prof. Mintzberg is cited in NYT as saying that managers can’t be created in classrooms. If b-schools give people who aren’t management material the impression that they can be turned into managers, they create hubris.