9 Reasons (NOT) To Do An MBA


Should you do an MBA? It’s an important decision that requires serious thought. In this video, I break down 9 reasons for doing an MBA based on my experience as a post-graduate business student and MBA lecturer. I give my verdict on each – I hope it helps you decide if an MBA is for you.

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1. An MBA Will Make Me An Entrepreneur 00:30
No doubt some of the MBA content (eg. entrepreneurship, innovation) is relevant to aspiring entrepreneurs, but other modules might seem somewhat pedestrian. Might you be better off investing time and resources in actually starting your business (and learning all the tough lessons you’ll have to learn) rather than doing an academic qualification?

2. I Need A Business Conversion Course 01:20
This is why I did my MBA-type qualification (actually a specialist MSc) – to fill knowledge and skills gaps in business and to allow me to build confidence in the professional world. For me, it was a big success! I did find what I ‘got out of the module’ varied greatly from one module to the next. But, a single module can be career-changing; I first learned about Excel on my MSc programme. Make sure you do your research about the specific modules.

3. I Want To Learn The Latest Business Theory 02:33
It’s likely you’ll cover some cutting-edge business theory on an MBA programme. But, the truth is that the precise content and focus of any MBA programme is driven by staff availability in the faculty. No institution can field subject superstars in all areas at any given time. Therefore, expect some more traditional, foundational (filler?) content too – topics that are probably covered in A-Level Business Studies. Porter’s Five Forces, anyone? 🙂

4. I Want To Meet Industry Experts 03:34
I find that the level of industry input varies from one MBA programme to the next and that students can be disappointed with this aspect of MBA delivery. The idea that academics are regularly ‘brought in’ by companies for their expertise is, in my experience, not exactly true – so links with industry may be less strong than advertised. Though plenty of students do their final projects for a company (often their own,) I recommend asking some direct questions of the institution to establish the facts about industry involvement.

5. I Want To Learn About Business 04:51
Yes, you should learn something about business on an MBA! Just bear in mind that the modular structure of an MBA is not necessarily reflective of how organisations work in the real world. This ‘siloed’ delivery of content has been criticised by management scientists such as Russell Ackoff and, in my experience, can frustrate more holistic and creative thinkers who naturally think laterally from one MBA topic area to the next.

6 I Want To Learn Technical Skills 05:46
The truth is that there is little technical content on MBA programmes. This is because entry requirements need to be low to generate demand and appeal to a broad audience. I am not surprised some students complain about a complete lack of ‘hard’ skills on the MBA programmes. If you want to learn programming or financial modelling, for example, a specialist MSc programme is probably a better choice.

7. I Want To Build My Network 06:37
You’ll meet lots of people on the programme and I am absolutely sure an MBA will create networking benefits for you. But, it’s a rather expensive way to network! If networking is your sole objective rather than a side-benefit, might there be more efficient ways to achieve this? I have spoken to plenty of students who do an MBA primarily for the networking, however.

8. I Want The MBA On My CV / Resume! 07:27
Plenty of people do the MBA simply to get it on their CV. I know, as a lecturer, they are easy to spot in the classroom – the student who turns up at the end of the module and only wants to know about the assessment! Yes, you are entitled to do an MBA for this reason, but your fellow students and lecturers will detect your lack of genuine engagement. At least question your assumptions – do you really need an MBA?

9. I Want To Meet Leading Academics 08:27
You’ll meet a good range of academics on your programme and you’ll have to develop relationships with at least a few of them – particularly your dissertation supervisor. Bear in mind that teaching is not the ‘glory job’ for many academics who would rather be publishing papers or speaking at conferences. Don’t expect all of them to be super enthusiastic about the teaching.


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