This guest post was written by Omar Zenhom, entrepreneur, educator and the Founder of Business Republic.
The 6 Biggest Lies Business Schools Love To Tell
Before I share with you the six juicy lies the headline promises, you may be asking yourself “What does this guy know about academia and what these schools do?”
That is an extremely astute and valid question.
I spent over a decade as an educator at the high school and college level.
I was a middle manager and teacher trainer at the college level for five of those years before quitting out of frustration and pure disgust.
It’s not all “shaping the minds of the future” and “preparing them for the real world”. Not even close.
It’s a dirty business. And this post will prove it.
I’m also a Business School MBA dropout.
I got accepted to Wharton’s MBA program and bailed after one semester.
One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This post will show you why.
I do have to say though, this post isn’t just a way for me to share with you some insanely insightful information, but a way to reconcile some of my own demons from the past.
Here are the six biggest lies business schools love to tell – and continue to tell – to keep themselves in business.
Buckle-up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…
1. MBA graduates have a better chance of success
Top business school programs are notoriously difficult to get into. They need to be because their whole reputation is built and based on the success of their graduates. Therefore, business schools only accept those with the highest intelligence and ambition.
They know they can’t teach you anything you can’t learn for yourself – if you were a bit resourceful. They know that any success a graduate has is not due to education they offer. They know they don’t create successful people. They simply accept them and then take credit for their success.
An individual’s chances of success don’t just dramatically increase because they attend a $100k, 2-year seminar. That individual was committed to success before they even stepped foot onto campus.
2. An MBA is a great financial investment for your future
With two years ahead of game in the real world and living without a $100k student loan packed with interest, a non-MBA graduate actually ends up taking home more money within two years of finishing their undergrad.
The average top MBA graduate will have to pay a $1,300 loan payment every month for the next 10 years. Interest is a killer.
This means even if an average MBA graduate makes $83k dollars a year, they only really take home roughly $45k after taxes and paying their student loan debt.
A non-MBA graduate with two years of real-world experience under their belt takes home roughly $51k annually after taxes with no $1,300 monthly loan for the next 10 years. A non-MBA graduate is sitting pretty.
The definition of a great investment is getting a high return on your investment of money, time and effort. Getting an MBA doesn’t look like such a smart investment now, does it?
3. An MBA will greatly increase your changes of getting a great job
According to the Wall Street Journal the effect of the 2008 financial crisis has played a major role in shifting corporate recruiting strategies. Companies have become wary about spending and have looked to trim costs. They are opting for younger employees who, in many instances, are just as talented as MBA graduates but willing to work for about half the salary.
4. An MBA will teach you how to be a great businessperson
According to Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar, more than half of the 50 highest-paid executives lack MBAs.
An MBA is not designed to teach you how to be a great businessperson, it’s designed to prepare you for entry-level management. Little is learned about being a great leader, innovator or entrepreneur.
Many remarkably successful entrepreneurs only hold a high school diploma, like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerburg, Jack Dorsey, Michael Dell and Bill Gates just to name a few.
Best-selling Author, Seth Godin weighs in on the MBA debate and states, “An MBA has become a two-part time machine. First, the students are taught everything they need to know to manage a company from 1990, and second, they are taken out of the real world for two years while the rest of us race as fast as we possibly can.”
5. An MBA is prestigious and gets you respect
This may have been true 30 years ago, but nowadays people really only respect one thing: results.
Having an MBA proves nothing theses days. Except, of course, that you are able to follow instructions and have $100k to burn. What you actually accomplish – what value you add to this world – is what earns you respect.
Taking pride in being an MBA graduate while working at a job that you hate for the next 10 years because you are a slave to your debt doesn’t make much sense.
What are you proud of? An accomplishment that put you in your current, miserable state?
6. Graduating from business school is a huge accomplishment that many can’t do
At the end of the day, colleges and universities are not a charity organization. They have stakeholders and a bottom-line. Revenue is their top priority.
I know this firsthand as I sat in management meetings as the head of a department, and keeping up standards in teaching and learning is not really discussed.
It’s actually quite simple: A failed student is not worth as much as a passing, paying student.
90% of college and university students are on student loans, so if the student passes, then the college or university gets paid pretty much automatically.
Higher education institutions have what are called a percentage of “failure tolerance” worked into their accounting. This means that they take into account students that do fail, up to a certain percent. But most colleges and universities set that percentage at only 8%-10%. Anything above that is unacceptable. Period.
Many professors are told not to give discouraging grades in the first three weeks of classes to prevent an increase in dropout rates. The first three weeks are crucial because most institutions set their add/drop date (the deadline to add or drop a class before having to pay for them) at the end of the 3rd week of the semester.
Students pay by the credit hour, so every dropped class counts. In the biz, teachers call this “Nothing below a C before the end of week three.”
Graduating from business school doesn’t mean you are a genius. It just means you aren’t in the bottom 10% of your intake.
As you can tell, I’m not a fan of business school, and for good reason.
I was in the business of education for far too long not to know what it truly offers. A way to extend our carefree college lives and delay learning the things we really need to know in order to excel in business.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Wharton MBA dropout. I was lucky enough to be told getting an MBA was a huge waste of time and money early on, by one of my professors. But that is a whole other story I’ll have to share next time…
I believe in alternative education, and I started my own business school mini-revolution. I hope this post resonated with you. If it did, reach out to me and let me know.