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Six Reasons Not to Get an MBA

Six Reasons Not to Get an MBA

You don't need to earn an MBA to get the expertise you need. Real-world business experience is not only an education, it's a path to learning how to be a leader, James Clark argues

James Clark, the CTO of EpicTide, a provider of security software for the health-care industry, has focused on real-world business experience over the MBA curriculum and is satisfied he's made the right decision. Here are the six points Clark cites as his rationale for why IT executives don't need the an MBA to get ahead:

1. You don't have the time.
The amount of time required to receive enough credits to get the degree is a big hurdle for me in my current position. Most MBA programs are two-year commitments. If I were to enrol in a part-time MBA program to accommodate my work schedule, the degree would take me considerably longer to complete.

2. You don't have the money.
The average cost of a traditional MBA program is estimated at $US40,000 for one year, according to MBAprograms.org. Online MBA programs from prestigious institutions aren't any cheaper. Though I have found some inexpensive online MBA programs, I can't help but wonder about the quality of their curricula. For more information on the cost of MBA programs, check out this link.

3. The subject matter puts you to sleep faster than a Xanax.
Since I was a young kid, I've been interested in technology and consumer electronics. That's what I tinker with. My interests don't lie in readingThe World is Flat, though I have read that book, and understanding outsourcing as a whole is important to me because I outsource to the Ukraine. But I have enough firsthand experience with outsourcing and globalization that I don't see the need to sit through a class on it, which leads me to my next point.

4. You prefer real-world, hands-on experience to academic study.
I'd rather learn what I need to know about business by working than taking classes. In most classes, you deal with the theoretical. That's not my world: I have to deal with actual business and customer requirements. I get more out of doing than studying.

I've seen a lot of people come straight out of school with theories of how things should work but who lack real ideas on how to implement or upgrade a business process using IT. Those skills certainly aren't part of a business curriculum, yet that's precisely what you need to know as an IT professional. Personally, I get more benefit out of articles fromCIO, for instance, that showcase the projects actual business and IT executives are working on than I'd get out of going to a class and hearing a lecture on change management. I'd prefer to learn about CRM or BPM from existing IT leaders than get the theory in an MBA program. It's quicker and easier for me. I believe that I've been able to get where I am today — in the CTO post of a growing software company at age 33 — because I've been able to grasp certain business concepts, like sales and marketing, and integrate them with my technical knowledge.

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