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Does MBA help?Views: 281
Apr 19, 2003 7:54 amDoes MBA help?#

Yang Chung
Hi,

Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?

I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!


Private Reply to Yang Chung

Apr 19, 2003 2:03 pmre: Does MBA help?#

Lorilyn Bailey
Yang,

I think an MBA may help you get a job in a corporation. It puts you ahead of the competition. But if you want to start your own company, an MBA is absolutely not necessary. You are better off investing the money in your own company that you'd spend on an MBA.

You do need to learn how to run a company, however. You can do that on your own or take classes. A recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine listed the top 100 colleges that offered entrepreneurial degrees. I've known people with MBAs who didn't know how to run companies. I assume the entrepreneurial programs are more hands-on and teach skills relating to starting up a company.

In some cities, there are special programs to help entrepreneurs as well. For example, in North Carolina, there is the Council for Entrepreneurial Development: http://www.cednc.org They offer something called "FastTrac" that rivals MBA classes.

You might also start with the Small Business Administration -- http://www.sba.gov -- for resources.

My company, SmallBusinessUniversity.com is building a curriculum, but it is still at its early stages. We should be launching in late spring/early summer, and we will be offering teleclasses from experts on topics related to small business operation and independent publishing.

If you want to ultimately start your own company, why not start now instead of later? Continue looking for employment, but simultaneously begin to build or make plans for your own venture.

Lorilyn Bailey
SmallBusinessUniversity.com




> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to Lorilyn Bailey

Apr 19, 2003 9:07 pmre: Does MBA help?#

Scott Allen
I don't have an MBA degree, and I'm not a big believer in them. I've met too many MBA's who didn't have a lick of real business sense (and quite a few others that did, to be fair).

That said, there are some jobs, of course, which require an MBA, so in that sense, it overcomes the barrier to entry. Furthermore, there's a prestige associated with having an MBA (most valued by other MBA's, I think you'll find). There's a very active online network of MBA holders and most cities have face-to-face meetings, as well.

So, the primary value of it is prestige and networking. From a learning standpoint, frankly, you'd be better off finding a REALLY good mentor and doing a lot of reading.

So its value to you is really going to depend on what your objectives are.

> Yang Chung wrote: > Hi, > >Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area? > >I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not...... > >Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. > >Thank you!


Private Reply to Scott Allen

Apr 19, 2003 10:42 pmre: Does MBA help?#

Grady Lam
Hi Yang,

I am going through a MBA degree right now. My background was in investment banking but my goal is to eventually own a business of my own. I was skeptical before. But as I am going through the program I feel that the MBA is invaluable in the following ways:

1. gives you basic knowledge of every aspect of running a business
2. helps you build a network that you can use for the years to come
3. helps you build credential if you want to work in different areas before you start your own business
4. develops your strategic thinking

JMHO.... Hope this helps,

Grady



> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to Grady Lam

Apr 20, 2003 9:50 amre: Does MBA help?#

Ian Dickson

MBAs are over-rated and not suitable for most entreprenures. They are for people who want to professional managers.

If you want to build a company based on your engineering expertise, you don't need to have an MBA yourself, you just need a good, experienced, maybe MBA, manager on your team as CEO. (VC love to see that the founder inventor doesn't think that he is also Gods gift to management, but is strong enough to bring in such expertise as needed).

First rule of business - do what you do best, buy in (or co-opt) everything else.

Spend your money on the business, not paper.




Private Reply to Ian Dickson

Apr 20, 2003 11:24 amre: Does MBA help?#

dwoodhouse
you are asking the $100,000 question. in 1995 i took 21 months out and got an MBA from London Business School. A fantastic and very learned experience...looks great on the CV too...most importantly gave me CONFIDENCE...that I was as capable as anyone else...my point is that if you want to start your own business CONFIDENCE and PASSION and ABSOLUTE DETERMINATION are more important than an MBA, but an MBA may help you get these.

Douglas

> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to dwoodhouse

Apr 21, 2003 5:10 pmre: Does MBA help?#

Jeffrey Levine
I find it amusing to read the responses to your question.

Someone suggested that an MBA carries the most amount of weight with other MBAs - something that i think is kind of silly, and almost a little defensive.

Like in any field, you will find people who are incompetant - just because there are quack doctors, no one suggests that you shouldnt go to medical school if you want to practice medicine. Going to music school doesnt make you a great musician - it gives you many tools and it is up to you to apply them. The same is true of an MBA.

The fact is, you don't need an MBA to be successful in business. But in most cases, if you apply yourself to your MBA studies, you will have an incredibly valuable experience and create for yourself a foundation for your entire career. It is not the "degree" that is the most valuable. It is the depth to which you apply yourself to learning and growing. Instead of just focusing on the "short arc" - your immediate business idea, look at the "long arc" - a career path that may last 20 to 50 years.

I was an entrepeneur and had my own businesses over a 15 year period before I started my MBA. The reason I went back to graduate school was that I realized that while I had some great business experience, there was definately "holes" in my knowledge. I wanted to create a solid foundation for future opportunity, which the MBA provides. It is far more valuable than "prestige and networking" as someone suggested.

Look inside and get a deep understanding of what it is you are creating in your life. An MBA might or might not be an important piece of that puzzle. Only you can decide.

All the best.

Jeffrey


> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to Jeffrey Levine

Apr 22, 2003 5:06 amre: Does MBA help?#

Uma Basso
I agree with the posts here - if you are looking for a job in the corporate world - it's probably a good idea to have an MBA. It gives you a step up above your competition.
>
Too much education can't hurt, but I don't think an MBA is a requirement to run a small business. The only exception that I could see would be if having it gives your small business additional clout, especially in the consulting arena (perhaps your competition has it, but you don't). Not necessarily related, but I'm in a similar situation. I've been in public / private accounting for over 10 years. I've passed the CPA exam and am probably about 3 credits away from fulfilling the additional education requirements (it's been that way for 4 years, or so). Being employed by someone else, it was never a big deal to have the CPA designation. Being on my own, however, that's proven to be a thorn in my side, as I can't get certain types of work without it. My background is auditing, but any audits I do I have to go through another firm. It is limiting. Not exactly the same situation - but it is similar.
>
For a small business - I would consider whether or not the MBA is essential in marketing your services / dealing with competition and if it adds value to your business. If not, I probably wouldn't put my time into it.
>
> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to Uma Basso

Apr 22, 2003 4:40 pmre: re: Does MBA help?#

Scott Allen
> Jeffrey Levine wrote:
>Someone suggested that an MBA carries the most amount of weight with other MBAs - something that i think is kind of silly, and almost a little defensive.

That was me. And I've been killed silly and a little defensive before, so no skin off my nose. :)

Seriously, though - it's not a matter of being defensive. I guess I've just worked with some really bad MBA's and some really great entrepreneurs and executives who didn't have them (I've worked with a couple of great MBA's, too - don't get me wrong). My point is, that as an executive and as a hiring manager, the negative connotations I have associated with "MBA" just about balance the positive associations, so someone telling me that they're an MBA carries absolutely no weight with me one way or the other.

And while this is purely my opinion, it is an opinion I have discussed with many other people and found shared by them. And my impression has been that many (I can't say most - I haven't met most) MBA's are more impressed with their degree than anybody else is.

Now is that so silly? OR defensive? I don't think so - it's really just my opinion based on my experience. Your mileage may vary. :)


Private Reply to Scott Allen

Apr 22, 2003 5:49 pmre: re: re: Does MBA help?#

Lorilyn Bailey
People with MBAs are certainly not ignorant, they simply need real-life experience. A highly intelligent friend of mine who had an MBA lost his shirt in his first business venture (which had nothing to do with the Internet). His background was in engineering. He then worked in the state government for a while and learned a lot and made contacts. He is now HIGHLY successful running his own business with several dozen employees. I'm sure that the MBA is big part of his success, but the degree alone did not make him successful.

Lorilyn Bailey
SmallBusinessUniversity.com


Private Reply to Lorilyn Bailey

Apr 22, 2003 6:26 pmre: re: re: re: Does MBA help?#

Siobhan MacDermott
I have personally done a lot of soul searching on this subject. I have found that one of the most valuable things you take away from business school might not be the MBA itself, per se, but the connections you make with other people. The network of people you are exposed to both from a professional and academic standpoint can be extremely helpful in getting your business set up, helping you in a pinch, or basically getting free advice.

I have worked with brilliant MBAs, although I would argue that those people are probably brilliant regardless of their degrees, and I have worked with seasoned and extremely intelligent non-MBAs. It depends on what you think the MBA will do for you. Unfortunately, having an MBA doesn't make things any easier, but you do gain the confidence and also the support network to help you out if you are in a jam. That has been my experience.

-Siobhan


Private Reply to Siobhan MacDermott

Apr 23, 2003 1:29 amre: re: re: re: Does MBA help?#

Scott Allen
Exactly right, Lorilyn. When an MBA has the attitude of using their education as context within which to frame their real-world experience, no doubt that they can probably turn experience into knowledge more quickly than someone without that education. Someone with that attitude, I want on my team. When an MBA has an attitude of knowing better than someone who's been in the trenches because their knowledge is that of "the experts", that's where I have a problem. So it's totally about the attitude. I'm glad to hear others (even MBA's) echoing the value of it for networking. Membership in any sort of exclusive club has added networking value over a general-interest group. Credibility is automatically higher. Also, many higher-profile individuals make themselves more accessible to people who have the same marks of prestige that they do. And that's very true of the MBA community.

So back to the original question re: the value of an MBA - I'd say high networking value, high value for getting certain corporate jobs, and high educational value, but not necessarily any higher than the same amount of time spent with a good mentor, a good coach, a good peer support group and a lot of time dedicated to good reading.

And I suppose my words of wisdom for MBA's are applicable to everyone - use your knowledge to frame your experience, but enter every dealing with another person with the attitude of what you can learn from them more so than how much you can show them what you know. You'll learn more, and people will like you better. :)


Private Reply to Scott Allen

Apr 26, 2003 3:20 pmre: re: Does MBA help?#

Alain Raynaud
You nailed it perfectly.

Instead of investing your money into the tuition for an MBA, including 1 or 2 years of your life, put that money in incorporating your own startup.

This advice only applies if your true objective is to create your own startup in the future. If your objective is a good job in a Fortune 500 company, get the MBA instead.

What if you don't have an idea at the moment? Turn yourself into an angel: advertise the fact that you have $50K or whatever amount, available for investment, and start receiving business plan, sort through them, put the money in the one company you believe in, become the chairman of the company and assist the founder(s) for the first year of their venture.

I guarantee the experience you gain in doing that is perfect for your next startup. In the course of a year, you get to cover all possible positions: sales, marketing, support, HR, office manager, etc... It's a great way to learn if you are a hands-on person. But if you prefer case studies in classrooms, that's OK too.

Alain.


> Lorilyn Bailey wrote:
> Yang,
>
>I think an MBA may help you get a job in a corporation. It puts you ahead of the competition. But if you want to start your own company, an MBA is absolutely not necessary. You are better off investing the money in your own company that you'd spend on an MBA.


Private Reply to Alain Raynaud

Apr 26, 2003 4:31 pmre: re: re: Does MBA help?#

Arthur Trevethan
I firmly believe that the tools of an MBA are inportant, however those tools are available to all, not just those in the program. You WILL get a street MBA within the first two years of running a company, without the pompous attitude that can accompany a traditional MBA program.

I have seen far more talented people, who work hard and produce results, without a MBA. Many of the freshly minteds seem to think they have all the answers without ever having been in the trenches.

Opinion mode - HIGH


Private Reply to Arthur Trevethan

Apr 28, 2003 4:21 amre: re: re: re: Does MBA help?#

Gary Yuen
Hi Arthur,

I completely agree. One can go to school but what matters most is how hard you work and how able you are to learn and teach yourself. The smartest people I know don't have PhDs. Just have a thirst for knowledge and love what you do. Like Freud, Rabelais and pretty much every genius in history had incredible passion for truth. that's all it takes.

About MBAs, there was a recent Business 2.0 cover story about what is an mba worth.

Gary

> Arthur Trevethan wrote:
> I firmly believe that the tools of an MBA are inportant, however those tools are available to all, not just those in the program. You WILL get a street MBA within the first two years of running a company, without the pompous attitude that can accompany a traditional MBA program.
>
>I have seen far more talented people, who work hard and produce results, without a MBA. Many of the freshly minteds seem to think they have all the answers without ever having been in the trenches.
>
>Opinion mode - HIGH


Private Reply to Gary Yuen

Apr 28, 2003 6:17 amre: Does MBA help?#

Tyler Smith
I echo what many have said on this board. If you want an MBA do it for the education, the contacts, to get a job in a Fortune 500 company or if you want to teach in higher education later on down the road. I have been wrestling with the idea of going to graduate school (For Game Theory, not MBA)to learn more on a subject that I'm very interested in. But, I may just decide to keep reading on the subject.

I thought about an MBA but I already have a Bachelors in Business. What took me away from my thoughts of getting an MBA was looking at the people that I considered successful. I have a board of mentors that I've gathered through the years and who I consult with when I need to. All these members I consider successful and not one of them has an MBA. The two wealthiest barely did well enough to get a bachelors.

My suggestion, whether you get an MBA or not, get a board of mentors if you don't have one. Also, read as many books as you can. My favorite is Winning Through Intimidation by Ringer.

Good luck in whatever decision you make.

Tyler
http://www.silist.com

> Yang Chung wrote:
> Hi,
>
>Do you have an MBA degree? Did it help you? If so, how and in what area?
>
>I am an engineer who is trying to transition my career to technical marketing or business development with help of an MBA degree. I ultimate goal is to start my own company. I am trying to see whether getting an MBA degree would be worth it or not......
>
>Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
>
>Thank you!


Private Reply to Tyler Smith

May 31, 2003 10:46 amWeekend Humor [re: Does MBA help?]#

Amit Malik

Weekend Cheer! Submitted without malice.

---

You have been an MBA for too long when...

* You ask the waiter what the restaurant’s core competencies are.
* You decide to recognize your family into a ‘team-based organization’.
* You refer to dating as test marketing.
* You can spell ‘paradigm’.
* You actually know what paradigm is.
* You understand your airline’s fare structure.
* You write executive summaries on your love letters.
* Your Valentine’s Day cards have bullet points.
* You celebrate your wedding anniversary by conducting a performance review.
* You belief you never have any problems in your life just ‘issues’ ‘improvements opportunities’.
* You talk to the waiter about process flow when dinner arrives late.
* You account for your tuition as a capital expenditure instead of an expense.
* You insist that you do some more market research before you and your spouse produce another child.
* At last your family reunion, you wanted to have an emergency meeting about their brand equity.
* You use the term ‘value added’ without falling down laughing.

---

My fave ones are the 2 involving the waiter :o)

- a


Private Reply to Amit Malik

Apr 06, 2022 6:48 pmre: Weekend Humor [re: Does MBA help?]#

Paul Finkelstein
Got mba?

New thoughts?


Fb page: http://www.facebook.com/paulstevenfinkelstein
li: http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulfinkelstein
fb profile: http://www.facebook.com/planaborc
t: http://www.twitter.com/paulsteven


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

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