Sunday, January 25, 2009

Discussion of the Week (casual) - Where does the Value of the MBA come from?

Sitting a lunch with some classmates this weekend, the conversation revolved to job-hunting, resumes, networking and other things that become top of mind when you read about the economy and layoffs on a daily basis.  The conversation then turned to what value you get from an MBA, especially in terms of it's brand, it's rankings, it's connections, etc...

There were a number of opinions about Wake Forest vs. Wake Forest MBA vs. Wake Forest Executive MBA, and if there should be a distinction between those programs and brands.  There was discussion about how to create opportunities between the Winston-Salem programs and the Charlotte programs (Charlotte is a peer campus for MBA programs).  And there was discussion about how we needed to look for more ways to network and explore with the students within our program.  

My personal opinion is that it's a 30/70 split between the knowledge you learn, and the people/experiences you encounter.  Don't get me wrong, what we read in the books/cases/articles are all very interesting  and valuable, but when you compare that to the 400+ years of experience across 12-15 industries that exists in our classmates, I think that 30/70 breakdown is about right.  

With more focus on case-method learning this semester, I think we're all able to learn more from each other's experience.  I've made it one of my 2009 goals to really focus on learning from my classmates, and I hope that more people make that a priority for themselves too. In December, I think we'll all look back and find ourselves better for taking that approach.