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Opinion: 5 Myths About MBAs Debunked

Elitist? Exclusive? Smug? Business schools and MBA students have changed, says BusinessBecause editor Marco De Novellis

By  Marco De Novellis

Tue May 22 2018


Row after row of white-shirted, 30-something men sit with wicked grins on their faces. A few high fives; back slaps; tailor-made suits; Ray-Ban sunglasses; note-packed wallets.

First, the school’s dean, and then a speaker from Wall Street congratulates them on their graduation. They’re the next generation of business leaders, he says. From their sweaty palms, the rest shall feed.

The pomp and ceremony is followed by the booze; by a night out, maybe a strip club. Then, by cocaine, casinos, glitzy offices, and job offers at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

These are MBA students—elitist, exclusive, smug. And this is the vision of business school that many in the mainstream media would have you believe.

In an article published in The Guardian, Martin Parker—himself a professor in the department of management at the University of Bristol—proposed the bulldozing of the business school. Business schools, he says, are corrupted, profit-driven machines, producing graduates who are ‘taught that greed is good’. Most will amount to little more than ‘precarious cubicle drones in anonymous office blocks’.

As editor of BusinessBecause, I speak to business school students, grads, applicants, and staff on almost a daily basis. In my conversations, one thing is immediately clear: Today’s business school community couldn’t be further from the hedonist, male-dominated, Wolf of Wall Street stereotypes of old.

As John Byrne, editor of Poets & Quants, put it in his response to Martin’s piece: ‘More often than not, the criticism leveled at business education has little relevance today.’

Graduate Management Education (GME) has changed and is constantly changing. Today, GME appeals more than ever before to women, LGBTQ+ communities, ethnic minorities, and people from every kind of background all over the world.

In April this year, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) bought us for exactly that purpose—it’s about GME for the many, not the few.

Speaking recently to GMAC CEO, Sangeet Chowfla, the topic of ‘MBA myths’ came up. Generalization is a terrible thing. Business school applicants need to know that all MBAs are not big-shot bankers; they aren’t all driven by money and greed; and there’s so much more to GME than Harvard and Wharton.

Plenty of MBA myths came up—business school mythology is an established genre. So, after our conversation, I took out my notepad and jotted some of them down.

Here’s five myths around MBA programs which are ready to be debunked:

1. If you want an...

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