B-school remorse: When the degree is just not worth it

9. November 2013

Date: 09-11-2013
Source: Fortune

Mariana Zanetti had been working as a product manager for Shell (RDSA) in Buenos Aires when her husband got a promotion to a new job in Madrid. One of her colleagues, a Harvard Business School graduate, suggested that the Argentina native go to business school for her MBA while in Spain.

She took his advice, enrolling in the one-year MBA program at Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business School In Madrid. Zanetti borrowed money from her family to pay for the degree. And when she graduated in 2003, it took her a full year to land a job as a product manager at a Spanish version of Home Depot, at exactly the same salary she was earning three years earlier, without the MBA.

For years, Zanetti says, she wanted to write a book on her experience but didn’t out of fear that it would hurt her career, which included stints as a product manager for Saint-Gobain and ResMed, a medical supplier. Now that she has left the corporate world, Zanetti says, she can tell the truth about the MBA degree.

Her take, in a self-published book called The MBA Bubble: It’s just not worth the investment. “There is an education bubble around these kind of degrees,” she says. “I don’t think they have much impact on people’s careers. There are exceptions, of course, in management consulting and investment banking, where the MBA is always valued. But for the rest, it’s a nice-to-have degree. It’s not that it is harmful to you, but every market expert I interviewed for the book says that what is needed today is specialized knowledge and skills, and an MBA is generalist training.” Read the rest of this entry »

How Microsoft learned to love the outsiders

2. May 2012

Date: 02-05-2012
Source: Fortune

A motley crew of struggling Internet companies have found an unlikely inspirational coach: Steve Ballmer.

FORTUNE — The Bad News Bears. Hoosiers. Remember the Titans. Moneyball. Friday Night Lights… It’s happened so many times in the movies — movies that often pledged they were based on a true story: A flawed but decent coach takes a bunch of ragtag misfits, turns them into champions and rekindles the passion in his heart.

So it’s got to happen in real life sometimes, right? Even in a part of the real world as surreal as the Internet industry. There has to be some great coach who can take a motley crew of misfits and turn them into a team of unlikely heroes with a Hollywood incantation like “Clear eyes, full hearts!”

Motley crew of the Internet, meet your inspirational coach: Steve Ballmer.
No, not the Ballmer who, in low-slung and lumpy slacks, played the sweaty ape as mad villain to Steve Jobs’ clinical yet charismatic hero. This is not the Ballmer who grunted, “Give it up to me!” This is the new Ballmer, the man who speaks — discreetly but forcefully — through his wallet. The man has $60 billion worth of kindling in his executive heart, just waiting for the right spark to set it afire. Read the rest of this entry »