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When the "B" in MBA Does Not Stand for 'Business'

I have just completed my course of study in earning my Master of Business Administration degree. While the official grades will not be released until May 22 and the actual degree will not be mailed until the end of June, I have finished all the coursework and will finish at UHV with a GPA of 3.94. More to the point, I have had the pleasure of working with a broad range of faculty and students. And while I am generally proud of my fellow graduates and respect the talents and hard work of our faculty, I also understand why Scott Adams has been making fun of MBA holders this week.

Sadly, there are quite a few MBA candidates and graduates who really do not understand what the degree is for, and who are frankly going to cause harm to the company they join and damage the school's reputation by association, because their focus is on their own advantage, rather than in seeking to improve their company through hard work . I am appalled to see that so many people think that the MBA is a lever for their own advancement, rather than a tool to be used to find solutions and improve performance. That is, the MBA holder does not solve problems and find solutions simply by being on the scene, he or she should understand that the courses and resources provided in the MBA curriculum are meant to provide tools that the individual may use to find the answers and solutions needed in their work, and that while they may hope for personal reward and advancement, the proper focus is on service, not ego.

Another problem is the unprepared MBA holder, someone who has the degree but does not know how to properly use it. I discovered a sad example of this at the MBA Case Competition, where the majority of teams proposed recommendations which were actually in conflict with PetSmart's clearly stated goals and objectives. In a real-world situation, a consulting group which is unaware of the corporate strategy of its client is going to go out of business very soon. In this case the individuals may have the best intentions, but failing to base recommendations on the company's actual condition and needs is well below a professional standard.

My father warned me many years ago against being impressed by lofty degrees, While he himself held a Masters degree in Mathematics, as well as Bachelors degrees in Chemical, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering, he made it a point never to boast about it or give the impression that he was smarter than other people. At the same time, he was never impressed by people in high office or who attached proud initials after their name, be it 'PhD', 'MD', 'JD', what have you. He always seemed to me to take after John Adams in that respect, a man who truly understood the character of republican democracy in practice. That may seem a non-seqitur in this discussion, except that many people fall into the habit of assuming that a grand title or high-sounding designation makes a person more capable than ordinary folks. That's not to disparage the value of an MBA, I agree it implies a degree of work and ability, but at the same time no MBA makes a person immune to mistakes, and foolishness from a self-important person can be much worse than the same nonsense from someone more willing to admit he could be wrong.


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Comments (23)

Gratz man! Good Luck.... (Below threshold)
geo Author Profile Page:

Gratz man! Good Luck.

[ deleted for malicious con... (Below threshold)
abert:

[ deleted for malicious content link ]

Too true, DJ. I lost count... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Too true, DJ. I lost count of how many officers I knew in the service who were so convinced of their superiority because of that piece of paper. I remember a few who were quite plainly educated far beyond their intellect.

You always li... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You always listen to your chief ...

Continued Good Success and ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Continued Good Success and health to you DJ. However, one important business trait not taught in books is good business instincts and knowing what critical decisions to make at what point. That instinct has guided me through the seven businesses I owned since I was just 23 years old, and what property or business purchases to make. Today, I hope to wrap a purchase of a grocery store I've wanted for a few weeks because the sales are very strong despite the bad economy right now. Even with the sales 40% lower than before when the economy was stronger, the business is still highly profitable and something I want to own. No business book will tell you when to make deals like this. You just need good instincts to know when to jump in with both feet into a deal.

DJ - "You always listen... (Below threshold)
marc:

DJ - "You always listen to your chief ..."

And the smart, industrious "Squid" finds their way around said Chief after his/her Pronouncement of Correctness.

DJ better delete the link added by "abert" it leads to a "malicious site" and was blocked by my virus/firewall software.

Congrats.A quick r... (Below threshold)
James H:

Congrats.

A quick rumination on the initials and titles after the name: I think there's nothing wrong with using those initials in specific contexts, especially professional or academic settings where they're used to inform, rather than to impress unduly.

If you're an accountant, for example, you should by all means sign your professional correspondence as "John Smith, CPA" and place "John Smith, CPA" on your business cards. It tells people that you're an accountant with a certain amount of public trust placed in you. As far as I'm concerned, same goes for DDS, MD, PC, Esq., and any other designation that's part of your professional identity.

I think it gets ridiculous if people bruit that sort of thing about in ordinary informal situations or brandish their credentials when their comments are particularly unwelcome. Unless, of course, your qualifications have some bearing on the situation or topic under discussion. But even, then, you're better off making your degree an asterisk rather than your leadoff point ...

Gebus... how many times do ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Gebus... how many times do we have to hear the "I bought a grocery store chain" line of crapola hooson?

And BTW, now we know why you dumped/are dumping your apartment after the renters became a pain for complaining about the rent you charged.

It was because of your "good business instincts and knowing what critical decisions to make at what point,"

ExSubNuke - "I lost cou... (Below threshold)
marc:

ExSubNuke - "I lost count of how many officers I knew in the service who were so convinced of their superiority because of that piece of paper."

Now you know there's more than one reason us "Skimmers" called you guys "bubbleheads".

It does raise and interesting, although metaphorical, question: What would be more fun tossing them "over the side", or blasting them out of a forward tube?

Oh, yeah. I "always" liste... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

Oh, yeah. I "always" listened to my chief *wink, wink*... then patiently waited for them to go back to their goat locker, so we could get back to work. :)

Thanks for the heads-up, ma... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Thanks for the heads-up, marc. That was a nasty trick by abert, although it was so off-topic it could have been a bot ...

Marc, I having problems wit... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Marc, I having problems with renters in just one home I own who haven't paid their rent in over two months even though the rent is under-priced. But rent isn't the entire issue here. The grass is over two feet high because they haven't mowed it according to the lease terms for weeks even though I bought them yard equipment to this work. And the neighbors complain about many expensive bicycles they believe might have been stolen from the neighborhood that are on the property. There is food garbage laying in the yard. And they illegally moved in a pitbull in violation of the lease and my insurance policy on the property. And they appear to be causing substantial damage to this five year old house valued at about $350,000 that we had built on this lot we owned.

I'm within my full rights to demand that they leave this property with a 72 hour eviction notice. Bad renters destroyed another home I owned a year ago, which I had to sell for a $130k loss on the market because the damage was so extensive.

I've owned a record store, two bookstores, some TV shops and some rental homes. But by far the biggest problems were with the rental homes. People with good jobs pay the rent for a while, and then stop paying and then destroy the house costing me thousands in damage.

Interestingly, in every case even poor African American families have been far better renters than White families, because they were clean and neat and didn't cause serious property damage, but had to move because some public housing assistance funds ran out or expired. For some reason, many poorer White families suffer from dysfunctional behaviors such as alcohol, drugs, crime or other problems that keep them in poverty and make them problem tenants when they slip back into their old habits. And this recession hasn't helped that. I sure respect the way that many minority persons show a far greater respect for rental homes by comparison. They seem to have greater personal values.

DJ, true it couldn't have ... (Below threshold)
marc:

DJ, true it couldn't have been a jp2... oops I mean a bot.

Regardless, it was a nasty little bastard, which come to think of it might describe jp2 as well.

hooson "I've owned a re... (Below threshold)
marc:

hooson "I've owned a record store, two bookstores, some TV shops and some....

You don't say?

Well, actually you do, and that's exactly the problem.

Your ruminations over personal businesses, so-called "hot girlfriends" and scooters (EPA certified pollution machines in many cases) out-number anything related to a topic of discussion 3 to 1.

And that renders them useless.

Congrats, DJ! While you're ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Congrats, DJ! While you're absolutely right that degrees are largely nothing more than pieces of paper, they are what you take out of them. And it sounds like you're taking a lot out of yours.

I wish you all the best!

No, marc, you weren't "skim... (Below threshold)
ExSubNuke:

No, marc, you weren't "skimmers." You were "targets."

Marc, I sure wish you'd res... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Marc, I sure wish you'd respect gentlemen like DJ a little more and stick to the topic at hand as well, and not make everything into some personal attack on me. I personally don't care what you think about me. I'm a real tough guy and you can't hurt my feelings. But this feature was about DJ's hard work to get a business degree. Don't lose sight of that fact. He deserves respect for that.

hooson - "Marc, I sure ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hooson - "Marc, I sure wish you'd respect gentlemen like DJ a little more and stick to the topic at hand as well, and not make everything into some personal attack on me."

And your rambling treatise on your personal businesses was ON topic?

Only to your feeble mind. Now run along to Blue and write another bigoted post on the church or Miss California.

The crowd over there LUV you, here, not so much.

"My father warned me many y... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"My father warned me many years ago against being impressed by lofty degrees, While he himself held a Masters degree in Mathematics, as well as Bachelors degrees in Chemical, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering, he made it a point never to boast about it or give the impression that he was smarter than other people"

I can say with reasonable certainty that JMC isnt your father.

Mr.Hoosan, I'd like... (Below threshold)

Mr.Hoosan,
I'd like to remind you, you're neither editor
nor monitor on Wizbang. Therefore keep your
admonishments of others comments to yourself
or go back to WizangBlue.

Congratulations DJ!<p... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Congratulations DJ!

Best of luck for the future.

Congratulations and best of... (Below threshold)
Christina Viering:

Congratulations and best of luck with your degree! Thanks for the blog.

DJ,You have never ... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

DJ,

You have never failed to be of interest to me in what you've written on these pages, and even when it often concerned what were to me exceedingly abstruse topics, your clear thinking and capable handling of your subject matter has always taught me something and done much to add a bit of understanding on aspects of life to which I might otherwise have given little consideration.

Before I end this back patting exercise, I feel humbly obliged to note also that upon the occasions that you've spoken about God, I have truly felt charged with your devotion and zeal and grateful that you would share it with us.

Now, congratulations to you, Go forth and do likewise with those whom you choose to work among.




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