Does an MBA matter

Does MBA matter. Does it make any difference. Does it raise any expectations.

It depends. It depends upon what is MBA to you; what you make of it; what you bring to it and what you take from it.

Industry is the prime customer and user of MBAs. Naturally Industry certainly has certain expectations from MBA. It is more than just the lectures that you hear, lessons that you learn, books that you read or the cases that you solve.


Domain knowledge, meaning the good understanding of the subjects that you study like marketing finance operations etc. is of course a must . It is the starting point. If you do not possess good domain knowledge you are not there at all even at the starting line of the race. Assuming that you have acquired it the industry looks for something more, something beyond just that.


As an MBA you are expected to have an analytical mind. To look at a maze of things and data and be able to discern what matters most. To be able to make out the causes and their effects. To identify the core from the details. Sooner or later an MBA should be able to locate the problem areas, bottlenecks, obstructions to any operation and explore for feasible solutions.


In this operation an MBA is also expected to think strategically. To look at several directions and features, find the connections to see any issue deeply and in totality in holistic form as also the individual strands and see how these can be coordinated for optimal outcome. In other words to comprehend the big picture as well as to read the small print. In short to become a problem solver. Operating in this manner the MBA is also expected to wear sooner than later the leadership hat.

Leadership does not mean giving orders and then putting your feet up. Rather, volunteering to take up responsibility and carrying it out effectively. This means understanding what needs to be done identifying the steps towards realizing them, managing peer group, motivating subordinates, delegating tasks and effectively monitoring and networking for effective coordination, resolving conflicts to ensure cohesion of operations.

In all these matters the most precious skill that the MBA brings forth is the ability for effective communication supported by all other soft skills. Ability to listen, ability to transfer ideas, articulate his thoughts and decisions is of atmost importance.

What is important is not just good intentions or decisions but task completion. If any project is undertaken an MBA is expected to see it through in full and complete in all respects. Further should be prepared to own up the task responsibility as well as the consequences.


Situations constantly keep changing. In business nothing stands still or is constant. Change is the all pervading thing. That being the case MBA is also needs to be adaptive. He should be able to foresee changes coming and adapt himself to meet it and sustain.


To be a holistic manager the MBA has to have substantial interpersonal skills. This comes out in so many forms. Understanding people, bringing people together, communicating ideas, motivating them, enthusing willing cooperation to perform, ensure group cohesion by anticipating conflicts and resolving them, managing effectively the pushes and pulls of his superiors, subordinates, peers and other stakeholders adroitly.

Altogether quite a long laundry list
Have you heard the term BOM. A Bill of Materials roughly means a comprehensive list of all the materials and components required to make a complete product.

Do you fulfill the BOM of an MBA to turn out to make a good MBA.

About the Author

AVK Murthy
A.V.K Murthy is a professor at EMPI Business School, earlier he was with Planning Commission, Govt. of India and BHEL, New Delhi. He did his MBA from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.