“If I said all peo­ple with a law de­gree are worth­less, what would you say?”

Never mind the trash talk. More tech com­pa­nies are hir­ing MBAs

Bloomberg Businessweek (Europe) - - NEWS -

“Firms wouldn’t keep com­ing back … if it wasn’t a valu­able skill set ”

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel said MBAs are pre­dis­posed to “herd­like think­ing and be­hav­ior.” Ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Marc An­dreessen dubbed them a con­trar­ian in­di­ca­tor, say­ing “if they want to go into tech, that means a bub­ble is form­ing.” In a post on the ques­tion-and-an­swer web­site Quora, Face­book Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Sh­eryl Sand­berg, who earned an MBA from Har­vard in 1995, said that while she got “great value” from her ex­pe­ri­ence, she wasn’t ready to rec­om­mend the de­gree to the coun­try’s fu­ture tech stars. “MBAs are not nec­es­sary at Face­book and I don’t be­lieve they are im­por­tant for work­ing in the tech in­dus­try,” Sand­berg wrote.

Sil­i­con Val­ley’s trash talk­ing of the MBA ob­scures the re­al­ity that U.S. tech com­pa­nies are hir­ing B-school grads in ever-larger num­bers. Busi­ness schools sent 16 per­cent of their 2015 grad­u­ates into tech­nol­ogy jobs, ac­cord­ing to a Bloomberg Busi­ness­week sur­vey of stu­dents who’d ac­cepted of­fers by that spring, mak­ing it the No. 3 in­dus­try for MBA grads af­ter fi­nance and con­sult­ing.

By one mea­sure, Sil­i­con Val­ley val­ues MBAs more than Wall Street does. In 2015 tech com­pa­nies paid busi­ness school grad­u­ates more than fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies did, ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness­week’s poll of more than 9,000 MBAs. “If I said all peo­ple with a law de­gree are worth­less, what would you say?” says Rich Lyons, dean at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley’s Haas School of Busi­ness. Fortythree per­cent of its 2015 class went into tech, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey. “It’s such an un­war­ranted gen­er­al­iza­tion. Firms wouldn’t keep com­ing back to hire our MBAs if it wasn’t a valu­able skill set.”

Ama­zon.com, Mi­crosoft, Google, and IBM were among the 15 com-pa­nies that hired the most MBAs in 2015, ac­cord­ing to data re­ported by 103 busi­ness schools to Busi­ness­week, proof that while the founders and chiefs of some of the top U.S. tech com­pa­nies may see them-selves as rene­gades, they’re not above

hir­ing trained man­agers to carry out their vi­sion.

While a de­gree in com­puter sci­ence—or the lack of any de­gree at all—may con­fer a high mark of dis­tinc­tion, the Val­ley’s C-suites are packed with MBAs. Twenty-four of 67 com­pa­nies in the S&P 500’s In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Sec­tor In­dex are led by chief ex­ec­u­tives with MBAs or equiv­a­lent de­grees. Among those CEOs are Ap­ple’s Tim Cook (Duke’s Fuqua School of Busi­ness) and Mi­crosoft’s Satya Nadella (Chicago’s Booth School of Busi­ness).

In the eyes of Keith Rabois, an in­vest­ment part­ner at the VC firm Khosla Ven­tures, the pres­ence of MBAs at a tech com­pany is a sign the busi­ness is ma­ture, maybe even over the hill. “They tend to get hired af­ter the com­pany is al­ready suc­cess­ful and it be­comes a very bu­reau­cratic or­ga­ni­za­tion,” says Rabois, an early em­ployee at PayPal who later founded the real es­tate startup Opendoor. “They will prob­a­bly keep you out of trou­ble, but they won’t cre­ate any value.”

The idea that MBAs don’t be­long at star­tups has be­come a Val­ley meme. Guy Kawasaki, a one­time Ap­ple em­ployee turned ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, once quipped that in valu­ing a young com­pany, he adds $500,000 for ev­ery en­gi­neer on staff and sub­tracts $250,000 for ev­ery MBA. Kawasaki has an MBA from UCLA.

“I don’t buy into the ar­gu­ment that en­trepreneurs don’t need an MBA,” says Sri Za­heer, dean of the Univer­sity of Min­nesota’s Carl­son School of Man­age­ment. “If they were a lit­tle more clued up about how to make money in their busi­nesses, we wouldn’t see th­ese tech bub­bles and the crazi­ness that hap­pens ev­ery few years.”

Twenty-four per­cent of 157 star­tups val­ued at $1 bil­lion or more— fre­quently re­ferred to as uni­corns—were founded by MBAs, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study pub­lished by David Fair­bank, a stu­dent at Har­vard Busi­ness School. They in­clude eye­glass re­tailer Warby Parker (all four founders at­tend­e­dended the Whar­ton School), med­i­cal direc­tory Zoc­Doc (Columbia Busi­ness School), and health in­surer Os­car (HBS). “A uni­corn is not nec­es­sar­ily the end-all mea­sure of long-term suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies, but it’s a pretty good met­ric for think­ing big,” says Fair­bank.

Busi­ness schools worry the MBA-bash­ing may dis­cour­age po­ten­tial ap­pli­cants. The de­gree ap­pears to be los­ing some of its pop­u­lar­ity, with en­roll­ment down 11 per­cent since 2009, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of 265 In­ter­na­tional,busi­ness school­san ac­credit-by AACSB ing or­ga­ni­za­tion. “When you used to think about good busi­ness lead­ers, you would think about a Jack Welch. Now you think of Zucker­berg, and that’s a re­ally dif­fer­ent as­so­ci­a­tion with grad­u­ate schools of busi­ness,” says Amy Hill­man, the dean at Ari­zona State Univer­sity’s W.P. Carey School of Busi­ness, where 43 per­cent of 2015 grads went into tech­nol­ogy.

Hill­man says B-school grads will find even more op­por­tu­ni­ties at tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies as in­vestors be­come more dis­cern­ing about the types of skills re­quired to turn a good idea into a thriv­ing busi­ness. “It used to be more risk-tak­ers,” she says. “To­day it’s a group of very so­phis­ti­cated fun­ders who are look­ing for very so­phis­ti­cated busi­ness ideas.” �Natalie Kitroeff and Pa­trick Clark

The bot­tom line Al­most one-fifth of B-school grad­u­ates in 2015 went into tech jobs, mak­ing the in­dus­try the No. 3 em­ployer of MBAs.

Ginni Rometty, IBM B.S., com­puter sci­ence and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing, North­west­ernNorthwest es­ternBrian Krzanich, In­tel B.S., chem­istry,chemi chem­istry, San Jose State Stateate Univer­sityTravis Kalan­ick, Uber Dropout, Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Los An­ge­lesLarry El­li­son, Or­a­cle Dropout, Univer­sity of Illinois at Ur­bana-Ur­banaUr­banaCham­paig Cham­paigngn Jef­frey Be­zos, Ama­zon.com B.S., en­gi­neer­ing, Prince­tonDevin Wenig, EBay J.D., Columbi­abi­aColumbia Law School Marissa Mayer, Ya­hoo! M.S., com­puter sci­ence, Stan­ford Mark Zucker­berg, Face­bookDropout, Har­vard Marc Be­nioff, Sales­forceS Marc An­dreessen, An­dreessen Horowitz B.S.,B.B S., busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion,adm dmin­is­tra­tion, Univer­si­tyUniv iver­sity of South­ernSouth th­ern Cal­i­for­ni­aCal­i­forn rniaJack Dorsey, Twit­ter Dropout, New York Univer­sityAn­dreessen en, B.S., com­puter sci­ence, Univer­sity of Illinois at Ur­banaCham­paignLarry Page, Al­pha­bet M.S., com­puter sci­ence, Stan­ford49

Tim Cook, Ap­pleMBA, Duke Meg Whit­man, Hewlett Packard En­ter­priseMBA, Har­vard Satya Nadella, Mi­crosoft MBA, Univer­sity of Chicago

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.