5 MBA Myths Debunked(?)
December 5, 2011
The Business section of the Huffington Post ran an article on Nov. 2 entitled “5 myths about MBAs.” Naturally, such a provocative title got me reading. I find the title provocative for a few reasons: (1) I have an MBA; (2) based on personal experience, it is very hard to find neutral or otherwise indifferent feelings regarding the MBA as a degree and those people who possess one (M-B-A is a polarizing three-letter combo); and (3) a lot of the stuff I’ve heard, read, and even thought myself before getting the degree was/is pretty darn far off the mark. So does this article help? Well, you be the judge, but here’s what I think:
People use heuristics to filter through a perpetual information barrage that would otherwise leave us drooling on the floor. These mental shortcuts allow us to make quick judgments and decisions in order to move through the sea of stimuli we continually face every minute of every day. One go-to heuristic for assessing people is stereotyping. We all do it. We take a broad brush and use it to paint a monochrome picture of groups of individuals whom are lumped together based on some shared aspect/characteristic/attribute.
Most commonly, race comes to mind whenever the word stereotype enters the conversation. However, that is far from the only instance in which we stereotype our fellow humans. For example, what do you think of people who work for Google? Thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protesters? How about Tea Partiers? The Y-Generation? Baby Boomers? Teenagers? Old people? The poor? The wealthy?
While heuristics are helpful, they can give way to unfounded, unsupported, non-representative, erroneous conclusions about large swaths of humankind. The article, “5 myths about MBAs,” attempts to reveal truth and dispel assumption. This is a good thing, especially in light of some of the stuff happening around the world right now.
What’s important is that we avoid making generalizations (and taking the bait when they are made about us), particularly insidious ones that cultivate contempt. What’s also important is that those of us in the “MBA Club,” make sure we unfailingly add credibility to the education and what we do with it.