Business schools are so big, in fact, that they dominate U.S. graduate education in the U.S. Newly minted MBAs outnumber engineering graduates in the U.S. by 5 to 1. They outnumber computer science graduates in the U.S. by 6 to 1.
(Aside: now you know exactly why the US is losing its competitive advantage in high tech.)
A 2-year MBA program at a top school can cost $ 100,000 in tuition alone. When you factor in lost wages, opportunity cost and living expenses, a 2-year MBA degree can cost upwards of $ 250,000.
Given the expense and popularity of the degree, you think that corporate recruiters must hold MBAs in high esteem.
Nothing could be further from the truth. A new study from the market research firm Infosys reveals that corporate recruiters–the people who hand out the plum jobs–think MBA graduates haven’t learned anything useful.
Infosys surveyed 500 business school leaders, 3,000 business school students and 10,000 corporate recruiters. The results showed a colossal disconnect between what business schools are selling and what companies are buying.
An astounding 98% of corporate recruiters don’t think that MBA programs are making students “career-ready.” That’s such a high percentage that it makes you wonder if the remaining 2% understood the question.
At the same time, MBA students dramatically overestimate their proficiency across almost all the skills that recruiters might value.
According to the study, recruiters highly value 1) work ethic, 2) critical thinking, 3) teamwork and 4) communication skills. When asked to rate students on these skills,
“recruiters didn’t assess the average MBA student above a 7 in any of the four skills they ranked as most important for a student to have. Students, on the other hand, did not score themselves lower than 7 in any category.”
To make matters worse, when recruiters were asked the one thing that B-schools could do to prepare students for the workforce, recruiters by a large margin recommended 1) real world experience, 2) critical thinking and 3) work ethic.
MBA students, by contrast, thought B-schools should teach 1) career management, 2) soft skills and 3) technology, two of which recruiters rated as being of very low importance. (The exception was “soft skills.)
More important, MBA students rated real-world experience and critical thinking low importance. And guess how many name “work ethic” as most important? Zero. Nada. Zilch.
What we have here is a nearly complete disconnect between what schools are teaching and what students need to know. And, sadly, the students have drunk so much of the B-School Kool-Aid that they don’t even know what they don’t know.
The author of the Infosys study, managing partner Jeff Kavanaugh draws this apt comparison:
“Imagine if students were told that being able to translate written Spanish was evidence of fluency. Later, when applying for jobs as translators, imagine recruiters tested students’ fluency by making them have spoken conversations. Students would believe they were fluent, recruiters would not.”
IMHO, that B-Schools–while charging students insane amounts of money–aren’t teaching what recruiters want to see in candidates borders on fraud.
Seriously, if I were in an MBA program, I’d transfer to Law School, so that I could start a class-action lawsuit against B-Schools for failing to deliver what they promised.