When I went to graduate school, an MBA was still an achievement – it almost guaranteed getting the job you wanted and conferred an impressive status (at least in the business world) on anyone who held one. Consequently, the popularity of the MBA grew and grew over the last couple of decades. In today’s corporate world – at least in New York – you can’t throw a pencil in a conference room without hitting an MBA.
I found myself wondering yesterday whether the current crisis has devalued the MBA. President Bush is the first president with an MBA. No doubt many of the men (and don’t doubt for a minute that the overwhelming majority were men) who crafted the clever securities now causing so much commotion were MBAs, as well.
So will the nation see a drop in business school applicants, both from disgust with the horrible way in which these executives have handled the crisis (and before that, their companies) and due to fear of a vastly shrunken market? I think we will see that. I think this crisis will make a lot of young people wonder if Wall Street is such a great place to work. I think more college graduates will pause before assuming that they want to incur more debt just to get a degree to work in an industry in massive flux.
Only time will tell, of course… but I think an MBA today won’t be worth as much as it was even a year ago.
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