Could Experience & Social Media Replace an MBA?

social-media-mbaWith the economy being in shambles more and more recent graduates are turning towards more education to help them on the job-front. University officials were correct in predicting that business professionals, and recent college graduates, would turn to an MBA program to solidify job security.  Dr. Randall S. Hansen has a great article on, “Is an MBA is worth it?” that makes me wonder if all that time an effort is really worth it? It depends on the industry you’re in, what you want to do, and how the market will respond to that extra piece of paper you’ve obtained. In the case of a marketing professional, I’m ready to debate that on the job training and the utilization of social media could replace an MBA.

First lets analyze an MBA and the advantages it could bring you. About 80 percent of business executives say a graduate degree is important to reach senior management within a company. An MBA could also give you negotiation leverage on job title and salary. Overall you’ll sharpen your communication skills, analytical skills, quantitative skills, and have a further understanding of how business should be run.

Of course for all of that knowledge you’ll be spending at least $40,000 a year and close to $100,000 for a two-year MBA program. Other factors on your MBA ROI will be if you’re staying at the same company, the amount of relevant experience you have, the industry you’re going into, the type of job you’re seeking, and the reputation of the school you attended.


Now I’m poking fun at graduate students with this photo, but in all seriousness I think there’s some validity to being able to utilize social media to garner the same skills an MBA would get you.

With an MBA you’ll be reading over case studys and examples of businesses that failed and businesses that were successful. Your job is to determine what actions caused them to reach their final destination and what could have been done differently to garner a more favorable outcome. Lets bring in Twitter to counter this example. Thousands of intelligent businessmen and women are tweeting while thousands more are tweeting about what these individuals are doing. By doing some legwork you could structure your own curriculum while using tweets and Twitter posted articles as your sources. It also gives you the opportunity to talk and ask questions directly to the source instead of it being in a piece of literature with a professor guiding you. Next we have the infamous lectures that you may relish or sleep through depending on your viewpoint. Lets have YouTube enter for this example. Now I haven’t found specific class lectures posted,which is a great idea, but I have found several lectures like Bill Gates address to Harvard University. If video is truly on the rise I would expect having the capabilities to find a lecture on any subject matter that you desire to fulfill the void from not being an MBA student. Last, but certainly not least, are these things called books. For example there’s the book What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive. Now of course I’d be naive to think that by simply reading this book, watching a few videos, and tweeting could suffice what an MBA does. However, if you actually built out a curriculum, crafted your subject matter, and ensured you were retaining your knowledge I think you’d have a pretty good argument.

I’m by no means putting down anyone who’s currently, or has been through, an MBA program. I believe for every rectangle there’s a trapezoid that could accomplish the same thing. A different perspective and methodology could help you get the same skill set and information that you would through an MBA. The steps I laid out would have to be in conjunction with work experience. I think that an MBA can get you in the door, but your ability to solve problems directly affecting the business can only be accomplished through physical working experience. By supplementing an MBA with the use of concentrated social media use, we will see a new bread of executives that wont be intimidated by the growth of technology.

2 thoughts on “Could Experience & Social Media Replace an MBA?

  1. Education is never a waste of time or money. You should get as much as you can afford. It will enhance your quality of life regardless of how it is used on the job. Yes you can teach yourself but, most people are not that motivated or focused. If you are….just do it!

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