Do you need an MBA? The MBA Bubble that is about to burst, by Nigel Engelbrecht


I call it an MBA bubble for a reason and it’s about to burst. For many years an MBA has been the most prized and converted three letters in the business world along with BMW. Only the most affluent and prestigious schools offered an MBA and they sure made it tough to earn one. Move to present day reality and anyone with an internet connection can get one.

I decided to do some digging and find out if my ‘MBA Bubble’ theory holds any water. I did what any good researcher does and turned to some of the most respected media houses in the land. I also consulted with 3 South African Millionaires mostly via WhatsApp and got some surprising information.

According to The Economist, an MBA is nothing special and it is no longer prized by employers. The Economist had a really good interview with Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, the boss of Jack Hammer, a South African head-hunter and here’s what she has to say:

“…firms no longer see an MBA as a differentiating factor, unless it was obtained at one of the world’s best business schools. Not only are more business schools now offering MBAs, but there is also a multitude of different ways to study. Online MBAs are increasing in popularity, and the number of part-time courses helps those who would not be able to devote time to a full-time programme, due to family or work commitments, to undertake their qualifications. Simply put, MBAs are no longer rare, and as such are no longer a guarantee for employment”.

The Economist also did a ranking on the best MBA schools in the world in case you are interested.

Forbes published an interesting piece on the usefulness of an MBA. Follow the link and read the full article. Here are the 10 reasons why Forbes says you shouldn’t get and MBA:

  1. You won’t make more money
  2. The value of an MBA depends on the rank of the School
  3. MBA’s are really expensive
  4. Earning an MBA is a time suck
  5. An MBA may not be relevant to the job you want
  6. The ‘value’ of an MBA doesn’t last
  7. You don’t need an MBA for a Career pivot
  8. Hiring Managers may see you as over qualified
  9. You don’t need an MBA to build a solid network
  10. The degree has become diluted

Coming back to my whatsapp millionaires I mentioned earlier. They are actually part of my network of investment partners but have become friends over the years. When I posed the question with the words MBA and Value in the same sentence the response was universal:

Don’t spend your money on it. Invest that money and make it grow

I asked if I should get an MBA to join the big boys table and the answer was straight up ‘NO’. As a side note, only one of them has an MBA. 

We’re not quite done with the research. Let’s see what the Business Insider has to say on this subject. I loved their article titled: If you want to be rich, don’t get an MBARead the full article by clicking on the title link. Here are my two best captions from it.

“If you want to be wealthy, at some moment of your life, you will have to create a source of income other than your salary. This is an evident and crushing reality: If you sell your time to others, you will quickly reach a limit in your capacity to generate income”

“The richest men in the world are entrepreneurs and do not have MBAs. Many of them have no degree at all or quit college when they realized that it was only teaching them to be employees and to obey”.

According to Bloemberg, an MBA is over rated. According to their article on the subject of MBA’s for career advantage the key take away is this: “In the pure Darwinian world we live in, pedigrees mean nothing,” says Peter D. Crist, chairman of Crist Associates, a Hinsdale (Ill.) executive search firm. “It’s instinct, it’s hard work, and it’s raw intelligence.”

An MBA could help you land a job but that’s where it ends apparently. According to many sources and the wealthy few I have spoken too, it seems that an MBA is overrated and just plain unnecessary unless your goals lie in working up the corporate ladder.


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My passion and expression of joy is found in building Entrepreneurs and helping to reduce the risk of failure for start-up businesses.

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