The question that’s asked about business education more than any other is “do you really need an MBA or other postgraduate business degree to succeed?” The answer is, of course, that you don’t need one, but it’s certainly the greatest boost to your career prospects that any other qualification it’s possible to obtain.
Those not persuaded by this often cite the exceptions, in particular high-profile and exceptionally successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, Steve Jobs with Apple, Richard Branson with Virgin, Bill Gates with Microsoft,or Ingvar Kamprad with Ikea.
Yet a closer study of those companies reveals a different story.
Mark Zuckerberg is widely acknowledged as the founder of Facebook, yet the Chief Operating Officer (who is responsible for the day to day running of the company), and the person who made the company such a financial success is Sheryl Sandberg MBA.
Steve Jobs was (in partnership with Steve Wozniack) the founder of Apple Inc, and it’s certainly true that both dropped out of college. Yet when Apple Inc was struggling financially in 2004 they didn’t turn to other brilliant college dropouts with innate computer science skills, they turned to Tim Cook MBA to make the company into the $730Billion behemoth it is today.
Richard Branson may be the face of Virgin Atlantic, but it’s actually run by Craig Kreeger – who has an MBA, as does Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Money, as does Tom Mockridge, the former CEO of Virgin Media. Mark Anderson (the Managing Director of Virgin Holidays) has a Masters in Management from the Tias School of Business.
Other major companies that were launched by entrepreneurial visionaries, but the companies are run by business school graduates include Microsoft (CEO Satya Nadella – Mrs Melinda Gates also has an MBA), Google (CFO Ruth Porat), Walmart (CEO Doug McMillon), IKEA (CEO Peter Agnefjäll), L’Oréal (CEO Jean-Paul Agon – graduate of HEC Paris) and YouTube (CEO Susan Wojcicki).
A broader study shows that of the 39 technology-based companies that are worth in excess of $1Billion and have been founded since 2003 – MBA graduates founded (or co-founded) 12 of them. That’s 28% of founders of $1B companies in a sector that is not even considered strong for business graduates! But what about the larger and more established publically-quoted companies, do business school graduates still have a place with them? Absolutely.
Nine of the Forbes List of The World’s 30 Most Powerful Women has an MBA. Of the thirty CEOs of the largest companies in the U.S, 20 (66.6%) have an MBA. According to Fortune Magazine, of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business – 36% have an MBA. 14 (70%) of the Chief Executive Officers of The Forbes 20 Largest & Most Powerful Companies in the World have a post-graduate qualification in business management. 16 Chief Executives of the Dow-Jones 30 Industrial Index have an MBA.
A U.S phenomenon? Not at all, over 50% of FTSE-100 companies have at least one executive board member (CFO, CEO or Chairman) with a post-graduate qualification in Business Management. 34 of the 100 Chief Executive Officers of Britain’s 100 largest companies have an MBA, with 53% of those having graduated with an MBA from an AMBA-accredited school.
That last statistic tells a tale all of its own. AMBA accredit fewer than 2% of the World’s Business Schools, and yet 18% of CEOs of the most valuable companies listed on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 have earned an MBA from one of our schools. From places as geographically diverse as the University of Waikato (Mark Wilson MBA, CEO of Aviva), the Universidad de Chile (Gonzalo Menéndez MBA, CEO of Antofagasta), and the Universidade Católica de São Paulo (Nicandro Durante MBA, CEO of British American Tobacco) our graduates have proven that whilst it may not be needed, an MBA is certainly the key to opening more C-Suite doors than anything else
Dublin City University Business School’s Executive MBA Programme is part of this 2%, with an AMBA accredited Executive MBA Programme. If you want to be part of this small and respected community, we are now accepting final places to September 2015. Find out more here.
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