Will An MBA Help Ensure Business Success?

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An MBA has been thought to be the key to business success for the last 50 years. “The Gospel According to the Harvard Business School,” a book describing the Harvard MBA program in the 1960’s, presents a world of opportunity for those able to complete the academic requirements. In the 21st century, the global marketplace and innovation lead the way over education, and the quality of education is being brought to question as more non-reputable institutions make degrees become readily available.

Innovation Replacing Education
An MBA education hasn’t lost its value and prestige entirely, but new companies and businesses that exceed expectations are ones that utilize good business knowledge and are borne from a great idea. Apple evolved from an idea, and educated people such as engineers made the idea materialize into reality. An MBA education or knowledge in itself is no longer the road to business success. It takes creativity and talent, not just recognition of facts or business systems, to be successful.

No Guaranteed Success
An MBA may be a measure of academic success and achievement, but translating what you have learned into real world application is a different level of success. Academic success doesn’t ensure business success in the corporate world. In some cases, adhering to predefined principles acquired in MBA courses may actually inhibit business success.

Environmental Issues
An MBA will likely be helpful in a corporate setting, as your resume will be competing against many others. It’s obvious that if you have an MBA and your competition doesn’t, you’ll move to the top of the stack. To move upward you’ll need demonstrated ability beyond your short-term successes to prove you’re qualified for the next level.

As an entrepreneur, it’s unlikely a potential client will quiz you on business knowledge or fact and figures. They’ll be more interested in what you can do and how you apply knowledge and current practices in your own work. The MBA may be a point of interest for readers, but it won’t have the same impact during an interview or promotion review.

Defining Success
Success means different things to different people. Some measure success as the amount in their bank accounts, others by the titles of their jobs, still others by the amount of influence they wield. Even more by the positive impact they make on their communities or the world. There are those who walk out from the graduation ceremony and immediately credit their MBAs as the keys to their successes because ideas for their life’s work came from completing various MBA programs. For most people, connecting an MBA to ensuring business success is a perspective gained later in life.



Whether an MBA helps in a person’s business success depends on what field the degree is to be used. It will likely have more value corporate situations than in entrepreneurial ones since decisions makers at companies are more likely to note academic achievements on resumes. In an entrepreneurial situation, it can be great for a jumpstart to acquire your first clients, but after a year or so it’ll lose its luster. In both cases, your experiences and a proven track record will be a better measurement of your business success than the MBA.


Veronica Gilmore writes all about business and education. Her recent work is about the top online mba programs.

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