by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jason Fertig writes for the Martin Center about the merits of master’s of business administration programs.
Once a hot degree, the MBA is now being questioned by more and more people. Wall Street Journal columnist Andy Kessler, for example, recently wrote that “the cost is prohibitive.” As a professor who teaches in the now questionable program, please allow me to provide some insight.
Before I go on, here’s your disclaimer. I enjoy teaching my MBA students. If I was on the outside looking in, I could easily go scorched earth. Given that I believe teaching is my calling, I think I provide value. But, I’m also not naïve. There are many flaws with the MBA in 2019—but there are still some good reasons to seek one.
The main flaw in the “burn it down” media regarding higher education is that the practices of elite programs are often projected onto the landscape of all of higher ed. This is akin to the flawed thinking that suggests the “average CEO” earns what those fat cat CEOs take home.
When people imagine grocery shopping, most don’t gravitate to Whole Foods. It’s likely Walmart, Costco or a local supermarket. When they picture a personal vehicle, it’s not The Ultimate Driving Machine, rather it’s more likely to be Toyota, Chevy, or Honda. When discussing the MBA in general, it’s more appropriate to think of programs at a regional state university than Harvard of Stanford. …
… Thus, to keep down the cost, some “non-elite” MBA programs have moved partially or wholly online, as it has at my institution, where MBA enrollment has increased tenfold. Critics will argue already inferior programs will be even more watered down as professors become system administrators of standardized assignments. Yet, given the video and audio software available, online courses have the potential to be as good, or better than, traditional courses – especially when considering how much informal online learning already takes place.