Why get an MBA

Business school is often a detriment to aspiring business professionals.

You might think that sounds ridiculous, given that many great business people praise the educational quality and priceless benefits of attending business school. However, there were just as many wildly successful and inspiring businessmen and women throughout history that didn’t see the value of business as a piece of academia. Consider people like Andrew Carnegie, Coco Chanel, David Ogilvy, Frank Lloyd Wright, Henry Ford, Richard Branson, Sean Combs, Steve Madden, Walt Disney, and Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple. None of those people graduated from college, let alone attended business school. Obviously, inspiring, innovative, wealthy, and successful business personalities don’t necessarily need the academic backbone of business school.

This is the point where the debate reaches a stand still. There are pros and cons to both theories; there are certainly good points to business school, just as there are bad aspects of leaping into business without formal training. Those of us who have studied the evolution of business theory can see that this debate is likely to continue for a very long time, perhaps forever. That being said, there is clearly a gray area between those two opposing viewpoints, and as mentioned earlier, the lines are sufficiently blurred at this point. Some combination of experiential learning and the genius of ignorance can be both tempered and supported by an updated version of business school dogma.

In light of our modern obsession with easily consumed wisdom and instant gratification, two semesters’ worth of business school textbooks clearly won’t appeal to many aspiring business moguls. On the other hand, leaping blindly into the world of business without some semblance of direction or an overarching philosophy is both foolish and costly. Somewhere in the middle is where most of today’s biggest stars of business find their path. Whether their success comes from their wise mentors or from the sweat and tears of earlier failures, this modern MBA identity is contemporary and constantly in flux, respecting the speed of change in this new landscape, yet also recognizing the need for direction and stability. That duality of nature in modern business professionals is what makes them so fascinating, and what encourages so many new people every year to plunge into the choppy waters of the business world.