I often cite Bloomberg as a great resource to understand the economy and job market. Today, it offers a report on tech jobs and MBA grads. Common wisdom is that Stanford is the MBA that produces the most grads who get jobs in tech (19%). That said, Arizona State, UC Berkeley, and other MBA programs in the Southwest and West are catching steam, producing 16% of new tech jobs. If you’re considering a career in tech, an MBA is one path. However, if 35% of tech jobs are obtained via an MBA (that number feels high to me), most tech jobs (65%) are landed by other means. I respect and value education. At the same time, I recommend that anyone seeking a job in an industry follow a strategy Richard Nelson Bolles talks about in What Color Is Your Parachute:Research how people without the "ideal" degree broke into the field. Bolles asks this question: “How did people without a degree in that field get into it?” Is the degree or certification necessary? For certain positions at certain companies, an MBA from a highly regarded school is a good way to get through the door. For other jobs, it is not needed. Think about where you want to work and what you want to do before investing in any kind of education or certification.
I was working with a client today who expressed concern about having to compete against MBAs. Over the years, I’ve heard this concern from several accomplished clients. They worry that they don’t have enough education. In most cases, they don’t need to worry.
Most employers value and prefer learning gained in the school of hard knocks. My client was employed by a major company for over ten years. He had developed procedures that increased sales and improved productivity. He not only can demonstrate knowledge, his success stories are real world, value-driven. Even an MBA would recommend hiring someone with my client’s skills.
The simple solution? Focus on the strengths you are bringing to an employer. If you need to get extra training or a certification, you should do so. But be sure that it is needed. Don’t play down your on-the-job learning and success stories. Celebrate them. More importantly, know their value and sell them!