I am NOT an MBA, and I am so far - so good.
I do get the honor and pleasure of interacting with lots of MBA's and doing business with them. I also feel deeply privileged that I was invited to speak at Harvard Business School a year back on Entrepreneurship and Starting Up!
However, I increasingly ponder:
Will the Internet KILL the MBA?
Case studies used in teaching MBA's are now rapidly becoming redundant. Take for instance the case studies on Nokia and Yahoo for example - would they be relevant today even they were painstakingly put together just a few years back?
Similarly, if an MBA school commissioned a case study on Facebook today, how relevant will that be 1 year later?
Isn't it easier to follow successes and failures as they happen (via online) and quickly learn what made Companies great?
Take Angry Birds for example - It has become a great global case study of content, marketing, persistence and brand extensions. Success to Angry Birds came almost overnight.
BUT, the Brand may not be relevant in the next few months - so, will it be RELEVANT to learn about it in an MBA class 2 years later?
I guess learning, dissecting and understanding HISTORICAL successes of Companies may be still useful - but then who needs an MBA class for it? Wikipedia will do as well!
Distance has no meaning.
A few years back, an American or European MBA was really also about 'exposure' and 'culture' and just imbibing the way successful markets 'behave and exist'.
In the age of youtube, do we need to GO to these countries for an MBA to learn that?
Sure, GD's and Class Discussions etc are good - but don't most blog sites and discussion forums give you the same kick?
Knowledge has become 'Open Source'
Just examine the way knowledge is being shared today. If you unfortunately killed 10 people and were sentenced to 99 years in prison without Parole, just an Internet connection in your Jail Cell would be enough to make you as wise as Athena (the Greek God of Wisdom).
I mean there are blogs and sites and universities online that teach you EVERYTHING!
100K USD can be put to better use!!!
Seriously - if you are going to blow 2 years of your life and spend 100k on an MBA - learning 'entrepreneurship' and how to do business - why not START UP AN INTERNET venture yourself TODAY??!!!
With a 100k cash, and with a bit of luck, you can easily get VC funded and then TEACH IN MBA'S Classes a few years down the line!!
The one BIG BIG plus I see that MBA's have is that they really NETWORK with achievers and the rich and famous and then leverage that as they grow older. I see that amongst VC's who found their partners in MBA's schools, etc etc
Linkedin and Facebook allow you to FIND anyone and everyone in the world, but they MAY NOT accept you as a friend. So spending 2 physical years with the same folks in an MBA class 'may' help you in that aspect. But that alone is a very weak excuse.
I think that the Internet offers too much dynamism, connectivity and just immediacy to spend time loitering along the haloed corridors of Ivy League schools in the hope of finding business nirvana.
Starting up, succeeding or even better - failing in a couple of Ventures is probably the BEST MBA you could ever earn!!!
UPDATE - 26th Feb 2012:
Depends on your outlook I guess ? Quite a lot of people would like to go to a business school rather than put themselves through the school of hard knocks !
Mind you, I think that there is no doubt about which school is likely to give you a better education in the end.
IMO, The academic MBA program is largely irrelevant. But the value of it is in peer learning and networking as you mentioned. Is it ultimately worth it, I would say yes, as long as your chosen institute (or the one that chose you) attracts very very good people.
But, MBA's attractiveness as placement enablers are reducing. Consulting and Investment Banking as professions are loosing sheen. So in the long run IIMs and co may stop attracting people of high calibre, unless they reinvent. Some most definitely will and some will not.
The full stop is only there, when you say so!
Life doesn't end if your business fails. It may be tougher, but it prepares you much better than an MBA :)
Soooopeerr post! :D I am sure the MBAs wouldn't agree, but this is so so true! Internet will kill most of the education that you get from outdated books many years down the line.
Your posts rock! Keep writing!
I am no great fan of business school , but still I think there is some flaw in the concept above.
Case studies are not for learning about any company or the strategy it has adopted to become successful (and emulating it). The strategy of the company (which wiki will tell) is anyways irrelevant as every person and every organization needs its own strategy.
The case study develops a more logical manner of thinking. Generally the case study is divided in multiple parts (problem part & solution i.e. how the company tackled it). The students are given only the problem and ask to develop a logical solution to it. The solution is declared at the end and students are to understand how their theory is wrong, could be improved, or is still better than the one actually used. This process helps take thinking to a slightly a higher level (every time). The newness of the data is not much of significance. Hence your logic of antique data being used may be flawed.
As for doing it online, this process only gets interesting when 60 minds fight to prove the logic of their theory. Doing in a forum might slow down the process and take fun out of it.
In that case...why do we need an UG degree( in my case B.E in CSE)...i learnt programming through books(8 years back) and internet( nowadays)...college education can easily be replaced by a broadband connection...
But college education is not just about books and case studies. It has to be more of an life changing experience. This is where ivy league colleges play a big role( by attracting a talented peer group)...but if you are able to have that kind of experience on your own ( like Gates, Ellison, Page, Zuckerberg, Dorsey)... well you might not need college education. But not everyone are able to get that...are they???
And if any one thinks that books can teach "Entrepreneurship" then that is a blunder!! The experience of college education imbibe values in you that empower you to pursue your passion.
Of course...learning through your mistakes is a very good thing...but smart thing??? it is to learn through others' mistakes...and that is what college education should provide you!!!
I wrote few things about it at http://goodspammer.com/goodspammer.com/mba-hiring-is-waste-of-money/ ..... My take is very simple ... MBA allows you to get exposure to various things (What to study), also it allows you to learn from the best (Most of our professors were from Industry), also it allows you to network (Alumni strength), I get access to a lot of companies through alumni ... Also B-School allows you to excel your skills .. communication, debate, sales etc etc .... It brings in confidence in you as well .... Thats what it does to me but there are few who take MBA as a degree to get advantage ... MBA learning is useful MBA degree is not (You can replace MBA with anything)
ROI for USD 100k, I am not sure of it :) .... I got it for 2 lacs :) + Some sponsorships from TATA for 2 years (which helped me buy nikes and monte carlos :)) + Some cash awards in competition (for Aqua java treats)
I will rather say MBA is killing entrepreneurship...Read my article on my blog ....http://askbharat.blogspot.com/2011/01/mba-and-entrepreneurship.html...