As I wrote yesterday, once I got beyond the first chapter, I found MBA Myths Unlocked by Dr. Ronald Yeaple more widely applicable than I found the first chapter, which was getting all the attention. His succinct exploration of different MBA options and his perspective on rankings were excellent. So what did I like particularly?
Dr. Yeaple’s perspective on many of the “myths” of MBA-dom is balanced and wise. A few examples:
- If you get into one of the top 50 MBA programs in the United States, where there are 972 schools offering an MBA, you will be attending a school in the top 5% of the country’s graduate business schools. Whether ranked 10 or 11 doesn’t make much difference so don’t focus on the rankings when choosing schools. Focus on fit and recruitment. (If you read this blog regularly, you’ve heard this message before.)
- On-the-job training is about applying principles and fundamentals. It builds on a foundation provided by business school; it doesn’t replace the foundation.
- Applicants should look for programs that offer a “balance of well-tested theories and application of those theories to real-world problems.”
- The growth in demand for the MBA disproves those who argue the MBA degree is obsolete and in decline.
- The pros and cons of part-time MBA programs and a recommendation on who should pursue them.
- The difference between for-profit, non-AACSB-accredited online programs and traditional colleges’, AACSB-accredited online programs. (Hint: the latter are worthier of consideration.)
- The correlation between a program’s cutting edge research and higher financial gain for MBA students combined with the recognition that the most productive researchers are not necessarily the best teachers.
The most interesting part of the book is the chapter exploring the value in one-year masters programs aimed at recent college grads. These programs, typically a masters in management, accounting, finance, or marketing are geared to early career applicants and consequently don’t come with as high an opportunity cost as the MBA. Since they are only one year, they also don’t have as large an out-of-pocket price tag. They can be excellent vehicles for moving from a technical or liberal arts studies into a business career and at a fraction of the cost of the full-time MBA. (See “GMAT Test-Taking Trends: GMAC Report and Some Implications” for evidence that more students are taking advantage of this option.)
According to Dr. Yeaple, there is not enough data to determine if holders of these fairly new, specialized masters degrees will skip the MBA entirely or whether many will return to campus later for the gold standard in management education: the MBA. If they find that their first masters degree takes them where they want to go professionally, then financially they are much better off with the specialized, one-year masters earned right after college.
If you are confused by the different graduate management educational options available and concerned by some of the “truths,” which are in fact myths bandied about on forums, this short, inexpensive book can serve as your Guide to the Perplexed. Just don’t stop reading after the first chapter.
By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com, co-author of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.