Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Do You Need an MBA? My Response

I thought I would let the question sit out there for a few days (and a weekend) to let folks respond. In my last post I asked if one needs an MBA to run their own business. I received two responses, both very thoughtful.

Corey Smith from Fisher's Document Systems said he'd hire experience over a degree. Still, it's not bad to have one and it can back up your credentials. Tac Anderson of New Comm Biz wrote an entire post on his blog in response to my question. Tac also believes that experience outweighs the degree and advocates continuing education for all business professionals.

Here's my response -

There is very little to disagree with, if anything at all, that was said regarding this topic. I think continuing education in business, regardless of field, is crucial. Whether it is formal where the outcome is a degree you frame and mount on the wall or the intent is to be self-taught based on a MBA-like curriculum is really not that important. It's about staying relevant in a competitive marketplace.

Pursuing advanced degrees is usually (if not always) a personal choice. Some consultants bounce between being independent and being employed by a company at one point or another. The MBA degree would serve them well in that capacity. Current clients and potential customers have never been too concerned about my educational background. They usually want to know the following:

  • How can you meet my needs right now?
  • How will I benefit?
  • How much is this going to cost me (in terms of time, money or resources)?
When it comes to consulting, it is more about marketing and promoting the ideas and concepts you have to solve unique business problems. In other words, it's all about self-promotion. MBA credentials may help, but it's things like testimonials, referrals from satisfied clients, and the ways you demonstrate your knowledge and skills to the business community at large that help you win business and keep clients.

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