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The Trap of the MBA Education

#MBA #FailedCase

I came across a trap of MBA education in an MBA forum under the title of “The Enemy of Business School.” Please keep in mind that this is not a general opinion, but because it has many elements that I agreed with as a manager of an MBA program, I think it is worth mentioning.

While every faculty member is aware that an MBA program is not meant to provide answers, how should an instructor respond when a student asks, “Professor! Which decision gets you the correct conclusion?” This is a question that eventually crosses most instructors’ minds. This tends to occur even more frequently in quantitative courses like Finance, in which it is more likely (but should be impossible, strictly speaking) to calculate a logical, optimal solution, than it is in irrational subjects like Leadership (just kidding). This results in having to explain the statistical techniques and frameworks that appear in the discussion.

Teachers

・Teachers who believe that their field of specialization is special
・Teachers who want to teach so-called “theory and correct answer”
・Teachers who are not good at learning from practitioners

Students

・Students who think their industry is special
・Students who want to learn so-called “theory and correct answer”
・Students who are not good at learning from other students

On the other hand, an issue with MBA students is that some of them let special factors of the organization they belong to (e.g., financial, technical, corporate culture, regulatory, etc.) interfere with their education, making it difficult for them to empathize with a (decision-making) case of another company and actually learn from it. Letting “fixed concepts” like special factors of their companies interfere and missing out on a new point of view is a very unfortunate thing. Teachers and participants alike should keep in mind that an MBA is training to broaden the students’ horizons and help them learn to make better decisions under unknown circumstances.