Bryan Caplan  

What Did You Learn in Business School?

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Question for readers with business degrees (A.A., B.A., M.B.A.): How much of what you learned in your business coursework do you actually apply in your business career?  Please give details.


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COMMENTS (34 to date)
Someone from the other side writes:

From my MBA (tier 1 school, graduated in the top 10%)? Little to nothing at all. But then again I was strategy consultant before that and am one now, so the MBA was more of a break from work than an actual educational project (I would have been quite irritated if it had been).

In general, some basic accounting and finance stuff is useful, 98% of the "soft" stuff is totally useless (and some actually has negative impact). Some stuff that would be crucially important is not even touched upon (in particular things like how do I deal with stress or impossible deadlines).

Disclaimer: I also had a M.A. in Econ/Finance before my MBA.

John A. G. writes:

I started and still run a business with the people I met at graduate school. Two of the three of us studied the entrepreneur track and it helped us enormously with set-up, organization and paperwork.

Mark writes:

Bryan,

This is somewhat of a false dichotomy. You are equating education with training and learning what to do and think. Teaching is not training; it is learning how to think and how to solve problems. The problem with education today is too many faculty treat it as a means of disseminating information about a topic rather than teaching students through effective means how to think and solve problems.

For example, I tell my kids repeatedly that the math they are learning today may or may not be directly applicable to their future lives or careers. However, what it is doing is teaching them to think analytically and critically about problems and discovering ways of solving them.

In addition, we may never really know how much we learned in school is relevant to us today. We also many not realize today how relevant it will be in our future. I am finishing my third floor and have had to cut a number of complex angles (wall comes in 20 degrees and rises 45 degrees). The geometry I learned in both geometry and pre-calc classes have proven very helpful 35 years after I completed the courses.

sieben writes:

Mark,

Bryan has extensively addressed this issue. If you comb through his previous posts on education, you'll see that "learning how to learn" has almost zero empirical support.

Eli writes:

One example of Caplan's critique of the "learning how to learn" model of education.

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/10/misvocational_e.html

Mike writes:

From my MBA, like Someone from the other side, some accounting and finance. Most important: time value of money calculations.

I got my MBA at night from Directional U.

If you really want specifics on the applications, I can provide more detail.

Some concepts: sunk costs and optimization come to mind. Have never done an optimization calculation.

Most of the other stuff like, Other Side said, was worthless.

I actually made a run at setting up my ideal MBA curriculum, having spent a year as the dean of a business school. It was a disaster, mostly due to cultural considerations and school finances. A long story to be told on my blog someday. I would have had a curriculum that would be almost completely writing assignments and class presentations. A tough thing to do given the quality of students entering lower tier programs.

DanR writes:

I graduated with an MBA 18 months ago. I graduated with an MA in Economics in 2007.

I am working as a Medical Economics Analyst for an insurer. I don't use everything from my MBA program, but I gained a lot of insight into team dynamics which came with the collaborative work emphasized in the program. I took a Spreadsheet Modeling class that was extremely helpful and has done much for my career as an analyst. I use statistics very often, although my knowledge of those are due to a confluence of both the Econ degree and the MBA. The MBA focused more on applying statistics to concrete business problems, i.e. they were case studies. Facilitating group dynamics and Organizational Behavior were informative classes from the perspective of motivating other people and getting buy-in.

In all, the education gave me a more holistic understanding of the actual functions of a large (or even small) business. I don't do HR or marketing, but I have a better understanding of what they do and, as such, when I interact with those departments I better understand their needs and perspective.

While I'm sure you are trying to make some categorical point about how all education is signaling (and I'm sure it is to many) but that doesn't preclude the ability to internalize lessons and to find means of applying them.

Austin writes:

BSBA with Economics Major and MBA, both from a state school in the Deep South.

I directly use maybe 20-30% of what I learned in undergrad business coursework (primarily accounting, some finance) but I feel that the economics coursework changed the way I approach problems in a way that has indirectly helped me throughout my career. Particularly useless undergrad coursework was marketing (I never considered a marketing career) and management (theory doesn’t fit reality, you can’t learn management except by managing).

As far as the MBA I don’t know that I’ve directly used a single thing I learned. Signaling is undoubtedly in the mix at all levels of higher education but probably nowhere more than an MBA. That said, my MBA program was very group-based and at least a third of the students in the program had non-business undergraduate degrees which exposed me to a much broader array of ideas than undergrad or my career. Learning to question conventional business groupthink and consider alternative approaches was definitely my big takeaway from the MBA although it still pales in significance compared to signaling.

To summarize - I would have a hard time doing my job without the undergrad accounting and finance coursework; I would have had a hard time getting my job without the MBA.

Max M writes:

I already had an undergrad background in Econ, but some of the nuts & bolts of finance came in through my MBA. I also remember learning quite a bit in my computational operations research course. M&A was an absolutely fascinating subject, learned a lot about blending companies and people together in that course. Learned a lot of the intricacies of market research as well.

If I had to actually pin down what I mostly learned during my MBA, it's which business disciplines I like and which I don't. For example, I learned that finance is interesting but accounting is a pain and I would be happy to not have to deal with accounting ever again.

Dan Carroll writes:

My MBA was useful in a general sense - thinking strategically, understanding basic principles of finance and statistics. It made the CFA easier - Levels I and II required minimal studying.

But as a money manager, I had to unlearn unlearn stuff, too: CAPM, EMH, Fama/French (which had just been published a couple of years earlier). The momentum factor came in the late 90s (surprise, surprise). There is little connection between the way markets actually work and the way they taught it to me in school.

My BA was Economics major, Math and Russian minors.

MichaelJohn writes:

I am very glad I studied management, especially HRM, and organizational theory. I use that stuff at least once a week to argue against the numerous stupid suggestions advanced by colleagues.

Benjamin writes:

I went Harvard Business School, and graduated in the last 5 years.

While I wouldn't say that I learned 'nothing' in business school, I'd say considering the opportunity cost of what I would have learned in my career (entrepreneurship / VC), I leanred (and accomplished) relatively little. On that front it was a clear net loss. I gained much more in terms of relationships & networking, but that too was less than what I would have gotten from another two years in my line of work.

I think for many other other people (with a less interesting job, or less finance /business experience) they would find the experience more valuable, but in general I still think they would have profited more from working in their chosen field.

I expected this before I went, so why did I go? Because of signaling reputation value. In specific, I was able to get a job in my my field with about 100% increase in pay, and a career track where there was none before, just by putting this on my resume. illogical in my opinion, but the way my industry operates.

The value of b-school mostly lies in this sort of reputation effect. Business schools, like colleges, but moreso, serve as an easy filter for employers who don't know how to evaluate hires, and want a simpler, CYA solution.

That the system (education/business overall) operates this way is a shame. it's a zero sum game, that also wastes a lot of our society's resources. It's the modern equivalent of a class structure. I'd like to see us move away from this, but what that means is mostly a cultural shift towards respecting credentials less, and evaluating people in anon-the-job fashion. trial period hires for example. This is one reason that reducing the cost to hire/fire people would be a great thing.


Steve Cronk writes:

I graduated with a BBA. The only thing I learned in my business coursework that I actually apply is the terminology. Almost all of the theory and "soft skills" courses are totally useless, but they did at least give me some perspective into the decision-making process that competitors and colleagues make.

That said, it's difficult at times to distinguish between, "I learned this in school," and "I would have done this anyway." For instance, imagine I recognize that there's nobody making a cheap t-shirt that fits skinny men well, so I decide to make one myself. Did my courswork become so ingrained that I instinctively conducted an environmental analysis, analyzed the various market niches, and implemented a Blue Ocean stategy? Or did I just use common sense? The answer isn't obvious to me.

Scott M. writes:

I took classes at night, from a private university (thank God not U of P).
My first career was in IT. As I found myself getting more involved in the business side of IT, especially the pre-project governance, I found myself out of touch or at a disadvantage. The MBA filled in a lot of the large and small gaps in my knowledge - sunk cost, NPV, IRR.
The MBA also reinforced many of the things that I already had exposure to - especially the Operations Planning material. Unfortunately, the Organizational Behavior courses also gave a false sense of business reality.

Curt writes:

I did an MBA quite a few years ago. Most directly applicable: accounting background, public speaking/presentation skills, some economics and finance background, some thinking about marketing/branding. Other topics were interesting but probably not very directly applicable.

Tom writes:

I completed MBA in 2006, undergrad was BA History. Most important learning was in small team dynamics - since our cohort changed teams about every 3rd class. Managing and adjusting for varying personalities, balancing the workload so that everyone participates (freeloaders not encouraged) extends directly to current work circumstances.

From a book: operational scaling and the problems caused by spikes and drops in demand. Again, highly applicable since my current work has highly burstable demand, followed by very quiet periods.

It would be hard to draw a straight line from classwork to business activity. But I am sure my "signal" was improved - jobs have never been a problem.

Michael Rulle writes:

I learned a lot.

My situation was probably atypical. I was 5 years into a PHD program in political philosophy. Since I liked literature, I wrote long papers (plus 100 pages) on writers such as Dostoevsky, Virgil and even James Fenimore Cooper. I also wrote on precursors to guys like Locke (Algernon Sidney, for example).

By the time I got to thesis time, I could not take it any more. I had countless boxes of filled notebooks. I thought John Stuart Mill was superficial and obvious. I had no respect for anyone I was reading. I did not understand why Kant even bothered to write. I thought Plato's Republic was the most ridiculous book---(to me it was as if he said "if we knew the truth, and it had an outline like I say it does, then we could follow the truth"). I thought Sartre was a complete fake, Marcuse a fantasist, and Heidegger a Nazi (I was right at least on that score). I thought Nietzsche could have been any one of 20 characters in a Dostoevsky novel (Years later I discovered he thought FD was the greatest of "psychologists"!).

Graduate school was everything I thought it would not be. As an aside, I was apolitical in my views.

So I walked across campus to the Business School, made an existential decision, and decided to change careers. I knew absolutely ZERO about business, including the cultural difference between academia and a business environment. It was a decision made out of fear. I was escaping Grad school and a life of teaching that stuff (assuming I could get a teaching job).

I loved financial markets, ideas like CAPM, learning whether mergers made sense, learning double entry "bookeeping". I learned there was a world where people actually made things and that an industry, called "Investment Banking" intermediated between investors and entrepreneurs. I thought Branding was fascinating. My entire personality changed from "know it all cynic" to trying to learn "how the world evolves" and advances. I learned technical things and big picture things. I woke up from a slumber.

Once I joined Wall Street, I realized still how little I knew. But it gradually became more clear to me what function we were performing. I had never heard of Hayek and probably would not for 20 years---but I began to realize the mystery the world is (which is why I really like Russ Robert's books)----and while I never used the term "spontaneous order" I began to see the world in that light. Wall street is in the middle of all capital flows

For some reason, philosophy, interesting as it still can be, often feels like a charlatan's game. I read somewhere that once Hume realized that "reason" had boundaries, he would sort of chuckle and go off and play cards and drink a few pints.

Business School changed my life.

EricV writes:

I'm an engineer, but I picked up an MBA with a finance emphasis.

When I finished my MBA, I thought I had learned quite a bit. The more time that passes since B school, the less sure I am that I actually learned anything.

I thought I had learned a bit about investing. There was financial accounting, how to read a company report, SWAT analysis, etcetera. The single biggest new mode of thought for me was portfolio management and asset allocation.

I have a bit of empathy for those folks who thought that they could take a bunch of risky loans, munge them together, and somehow use Modern Portfolio Theory and CAPM to squirt out AAA securities on the other end. That is what they were taught in MBA schools.

Of course, all of this turned out to be hokum. In my own case, I had a mix of real-estate, Canadian oil REITs, US, and foreign stocks. All of it nicely back tested to have near-flat correlation matricies. I would be retired in no time.

It didn't work out that way. There really are black swans and when it all hits the fan, everything is correlated. That isn't something they teach you in B school.


DW writes:

A fair amount. I did an undergrad business degree and the more math-based courses were useful (finance, stats, linear programming, decision models). As much for the skills with software packages (Excel, databases, etc) than anything.

The rest (60% of total) were a complete waste of time. I drank as much beer as I could afford, though.

Jeff writes:

I'm a CPA, and most of the clients I work with are banks or mortgage lenders, so all the accounting and finance stuff I studied as an undergrad was useful, and I use it daily. That said, in school you learn the very basics, which qualifies you to do next to nothing in the workplace. Your real education takes place your first 2-3 years on the job, as you learn the ins and outs of putting together 10-K's and 10-Q's, actually writing financial reports, planning and then performing an audit, etc. The educational component is important, but as I said it's also extremely basic.

zach writes:

I did Wharton's undergrad program, where ostensibly you graduate with a B.S. in Economics, but the curriculum really is just MBA-style courses. Having a "business" degree wouldn't have the same ring to it, I guess...

Apparantly I depart from the rest of your commenters in that I found my education extremely useful, but that may only be because I never had a real job before college. I've worked in consulting and finance, and the core B-School curriculum is pretty foundational in both of these industries. Accounting, Finance, Statistics. Most of this you could learn on the job, I suppose, but I don't know if I would have internalized it as well. Courses I took in Corporate Valuation and Derivatives have proved to be particularly valuable...

One thing sorely lacking in business school is anything pertaining to Sales.

In my consulting work I encounter a lot of people in organizations who would benefit greatly from a B-School type of education. Especially within large government agencies. They just dont have the mental framework in place to structure and work through certain problems.

libfree writes:

I'm not sure I learned more in 4 years getting my BA than I would have by just actually working, I definitely learned things I wouldn't have learned just working.

Finance/economics - Market efficiency, whether mergers actually make sense, why diversity is bad and specialization is good. Basic game theory

Accounting - Just the basics

HR / Leadership / Business strategy - My school concentrated on case studies and role playing and I thought that had a lot of practical value. It makes you realize how hard a lot of these concepts are to actually implement and gave me a framework to try new ideas. Our business strategy class was the best class I took in school. Essentially building a basic business strategy and then evaluating every facet of your business to determine whether it advances or hinders that strategy. Lots of case studies.

Risk Management - this has actually been really useful. I'm constantly surprised that people think that their medical insurance will give more in benefits than they pay in premiums.

Everything else was worthless. I didn't learn how to write in English. I learned trivia in Astronomy and Geology. I slept through philosophy so that was probably my fault. I learned a lot of things in my Post Communism Soviet Union class that will com in very useful on my vacation to the Baltic States, not much use otherwise.

c141nav writes:

Next to nothing. University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Mike writes:

MBA, a large Ontario university. Useful: some technical basics like corporate finance and accounting, and that strategic planning is bunk. Operations management was my favorite, and I use it a lot in my work. I'm not sure what it really did for me though, based on career outcomes. I have a great income and hate my job.

My biggest puzzle is why on earth they admitted me (MSc in social sciences) and many others. Looking at my class, they were certainly not selecting for a specific personality range, IQ percentile (other than above 50th), or predisposition to high management skill or entrepreneurial ability. I was in the top 5% of the GMAT.

Looking back, it was a poor decision. If I were running an MBA program, and the point of it was truly to build entrepreneurs and great managers, I would stop people at the door and tell them:

-"If you think this will enhance your entrepreneurial abilities, just take this 20-item personality test to see if you fit. If you don't, study something else. If you score really high, just go start a business. If in the middle, come here and focus on building a network; just don't fail outright."

-"If you think this will make you a great manager, ask yourself first if you think you could (a) discipline and fire someone, (b) select a winning idea out of 5 mediocre but plausible ones, (c) be rated as highly conscientious by others. If yes, do the degree but just go somewhere cheap."

-"If you think this will transform your career through what you learn, ask yourself if your current career is dissatisfying primarily because of weak credentials, inadequate knowledge, personality, location, career history, or other factor. If you're convinced credentials are the main barrier, come on in. Any other factor: deal with it yourself."

Of course, no program I applied to does such a thing, nor do I think they would.

Michael Stanley writes:

Michael Rulle, please contact me. I have more follow up questions for you.

Maximum Liberty writes:

No MBA here, just a JD. But I've worked as in-house counsel, in several companies, both large and small. Regardless of the size of the company, I see a difference between managers with the MBA and those without, to the point that, after working with someone long enough, I can usually tell you whether they have one or not, without prior knowledge of their educational history. There is something about the way that they tend to approach and present information for decision-making that differs from people who came up through the ranks. I'm sorry I can't pin it down better than that.

Max

Michael Rulle writes:

Michael Stanley

Are you with EconLog? I would be happy to answer any questions either way---but how do I contact you? Cannot do it on this website. Let me know.

Mike

[I've emailed Michael Stanley; if he gives me permission, I will email you his email address. --Your Friendly EconLog Ed.]

Chi dog writes:

Graduated from Booth School of Business (Uchicago). I work for a midsize trading firm and went to school part time.

Personally I apply a lot of what I learned in B school.

- I was Econ undergrad with NO finance, so the nuts and bolts corporate finance and accounting has been helpful.

- The "soft stuff" that most people are critical of I find has been invaluable in my career. While I was in the program, I moved into a high level mgmt. position from a trading position. Not only was I able to lean on the things I was learning in the program (group dynamics, incentives, leadership, etc.), I was able to introduce actual situations I was experiencing in my office into the classroom.

- I was introduced to behavioral finance and market psychology which really weren't on the radar when I went through undergrad in the mid 90's. I caught the bug and devoured anything there and outside I could get my hands on. Really helped with the mgmt. and I can't tell you what a profound impact it's had on my trading career.

- Working in a small firm can be extremely insular. Almost everyone in my firm was hired out of college and trained exclusively to be a trader, including everyone that ended up in management. I didn't realize it before I went to B school, but I and everyone else was trained and conditioned to look at situations in the same manner. It was really instructive to hear how a group of engineers would approach a problem or opportunity... or lawyer, or banker, or programmer, etc.

- Maybe it's true that you can't learn to learn, but I do think you can learn to think critically. The core of Chicago's program is valuation: developing a system to objectively evaluate an opportunity. All classes are supposed to point back to that process. This is useful in itself, but I think the secondary benefit is that you learn how to develop and employ a rigorous process. Over and over, whether it's in operations or a class on entrepreneurship you use roughly the same methodology. The case/group work strongly reinforces the lesson.

Couple related things I'll throw out there:

- in my experience, a lot of MBA students don't apply themselves very much, if at all. As evidenced in the comments here, most MBA candidates are there for non-academic reasons: networking, signalling, social, etc. So I think there's a bit of a self fulfilling loop between what they expect to learn and what they actually learn. Furthermore, I noticed that many students stuck to their areas of experience; in other words, bankers concentrated in finance, accountants in accounting, etc. I think it goes without saying, but if you have any experience in a field you're not going to learn much from an introductory text book. An entire year of graduate level derivatives gets you through the first two weeks of my firm's training program. I took a Financial Statement Analysis class and about half the class were already high level analysts. For me it was one of my more practical and instructive classes. I sweated over and put in a TON of time on a big final valuation project, which was of course quite a humble work compared to the glossy, presentations the analyst guys whipped out... the same guys who loudly complained about how "dumb" the class was.

- I think you have to be careful about having too narrow a definition of what's a practical education. Business school isn't a vocational school. Anecdotally, any journalist should have a wide breadth of knowledge (political, economical, social). They don't "use" it to do their job like they do a computer or a thesaurus, but general knowledge informs their reporting and writing. Likewise, I don't "use" the things I learned in marketing, but it rounds me out professionally and assists my career in many ways.

- More as an aside, but when looking for feedback from grad students, one should consider that the typical MBA candidate is particularly crochety if not resentful. They're sick of school and it's EXPENSIVE, especially when one factors in opportunity costs. The frequent complaint you hear about B school is that much of it is common sensical and you can learn just as much on the job. For starters, I think that's a stubborn way of looking at things that you could apply to just about anything. You can probably become a great golfer with a couple instructional books and thousands of hours on the range, but it's far more efficient and effective to hire a pro to coach you. Second, most of the material in business school, especially the "soft stuff" is easily digestible, but that doesn't make it intuitive. After you see the wheel, I don't think it's a fair assumption to say that you would have thought it up eventually on your own.

Kenneth A. Regas writes:

BA Management, Golden Gate University, 1976

I later went into small business and felt well-served by my business education. What I got was an invaluable set of conceptual tools.

Things still with me:

  • time value of money: PV of an annuity, discounted cash flow, ROI, EOQ
  • finance: debt, equity, leverage, how tiny Haloid financed becoming giant Xerox
  • fundamentals of accounting: DR and CR, why cost is so hard to compute
  • fundamentals of profit and loss: cash flow, accrual, contribution
  • fundamentals of contract law: the elements of a contract, why a piece of paper isn't a contract, the Peerless case, obligations of the parties
  • economics: national account economics (GNP, GDP, S=I), TANSTAAFL, externalities
  • marketing: market segmentation and product differentiation, product-place-price-promotion, marketing research and why you don't necessarily learn what people think by asking them
  • organization: Louis A. Allen's The Management Profession, plan, organize, lead, and control

No signaling, rather lots of tools for the mental toolbox. I ultimately became an engineer and acquired a whole new set of different tools. Oh, and count me in as a believer in learning how to learn as a natural byproduct, and not the key product, of learning particular useful things.

Ken

aditya writes:

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Bill writes:

I finished my MBA several years ago and believe the usefulness of an MBA depends on what you do with it. I worked in finance before going to school and continued to after and found the finance-related coursework to be extremely helpful in my post-MBA position. What I learned in quantitative methods (particularly multiple regression, ANOVA, monte carlo simulation and optimization), accounting and applied financial management (e.g. real options, capital structure theory, valuation analysis) have been particularly useful in my day-to-day work. I found the material taught in "soft" courses (organizational behavior, public speaking, ethics, ect) to be 90% worthless and 80% common sense.

I would be willing to bet you will find different responses depending on the profession of the responder.

Scott G writes:

Just for fun and maybe of value to Bryan and others, let me alter Bryan's question as follows:

Question for readers with engineering degrees (B.S. M.S. PhD): How much of what you learned in your engineering coursework do you actually apply in your engineering career? Please give details.

Bryan,

Great question! I have a B.S. in mechanical engineering in mechanical engineering and a M.S. in optical engineering and I probably use about 20 to 40% of what I learned in engineering school at work.

Here's a top ten list of ideas and skills that I use often:
1. How to solve a general engineering problem efficiently. Define the problem. State the knowns. Make assumptions and approximations. Perform the calculations. Check the solution and the assumptions. Check the accuracy.
2. Sine, cosine and tangent calculations. I know it sounds simple, but these are one of the most common calculations that I do. Solving for the magnitude of one side of a triangle or the angle of a triangle.
3. Using the definition of paraxial magnification of a lens to determine image size, object size, image distance or object distance.
4. Using the lens maker equation to solve for focal length, object distance or image distance.
5. How to use one's calculator efficiently and without making mistakes.
6. How to input a text file or image file in a code like C or Matlab, perform some analysis or calculation on the file, and then output some result.
7. Familiarity with the relationship between stress and strain, and the constant called the Young's modulus relating the two.
8. Understanding what light is and what model to apply to it. For example knowing when to use a ray model or a diffraction model.
9. How to calculate the power, voltage, resistance or current of a simple circuit suing Ohm's law and similar equations.
10. How to listen to someone and determine when they've made an assumption.
11. How to work with really arrogant people.

The above list is somewhat randomly chosen and could probably be improved if I thought about it longer.


Dave Tufte writes:

My perspective is very different.

I didn't go to business school. I didn't set foot in one until I started my first job as a visiting assistant professor in the Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama.

As an undergraduate I majored in economics in a militantly anti-business arts and letters college at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. I also did my MA and Ph.D. there.

This is the sort of place where the School of Management needed to have its own economics department. Read between the lines ...

So, off I went to Alabama. Where I found out that business school professors worked harder than I did. A good many of them knew a lot more than I did too. And they were friendlier to boot. Plus, they carried themselves differently: lots of professors act like students, but not these ones. I showed up on the first day of class in a polo shirt, and immediately felt out of place.

What did I learn? From them ... Not much. About life ... quite a lot. It was more about how they worked. They were all so serious. The arc of their careers were important to them ... their individual scholarly works ... not so much. Their projects weren't babies they nurtured forever. They spent a lot less time debating nuances, and more time in their offices 9-5 rather than "working" from home. They were always willing to invest time to figure something out, but there was little nonsense about trying to learn something because it might prove useful. Either it would be, or they didn't do it.

I wasn't happy (mostly with the town). They might have kept me, but I left after my second year.

What a mistake. I landed back in an arts and letters college at The University of Utah. And I was no longer the same person from before Alabama. I showed up for a lunch on my first day on campus in a suit. I never fit in after that. They pushed me out the door the next spring. Utah was a lot more fun and interesting than Alabama, but at Utah they seemed to haphazardly flail at their work.

Since then I've gotten tenure in 2 different business schools, and I have no regrets.

Miklos writes:

A BBA from and working in Central Europe here. I am an ERP Consultant. Perhaps I am a special case, because I majored in Business IT and specialized in Accounting Information Systems, which is probably the most hands-on thing you can do with a business school degree, like programming or designing or supporting ERP software. I figure those who get a less "get stuff done" major do not find it very useful... but I do find mine useful.

Year 1:

Math, stats: not useful, nobody ever wants more complicated reports than simple percentages.

Micro/macroeconomics - helps a bit, but not really in the hands-on job but more like figuring out what is the right time for getting a new job or which client has a larger budget

Accounting, controlling: very useful

Year 2:

Accounting, controlling: again very useful

Operations research: not useful

Year 3: IT stuff, from programming to MFG/PRO to SQL all of them quite useful

Management Accounting: very useful, ERP must provide management information

Overally, the business school taught me how ERP accounting software should work like the rules of accounting, and also the IT part of how it works from SQL to Java programming to taking a peek at MFG/PRO and SunSystems as actual examples.

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