A good business program will teach things that cannot ordinarily be mastered on the job, such as finance, statistics, and managerial economics. It can also compress the time necessary to learn things that can also be learned on the job, but only over a long period and with great effort and luck. In addition, it shows how different functions work, how they are related, how companies in different industries compete, and how they manage in different environments. The best programs also prepare their students to manage in the new global, information-driven environment.

It does all of this by being, in part, a boot camp for managers. Students are drilled in the basics and forced to crunch through a massive amount of material, cooperate and compete with colleagues very different from themselves, and, in general, live life at a speeded-up pace. The net result is a graduate with broadly recognizable skills and attributes.

The positive attributes associated with MBAs from top schools include:

  1. Superior intelligence, as demonstrated by the admissions hurdles they needed to clear.
  2. Willingness to invest in themselves, as shown by their pursuit of a graduate degree.
  3. Willingness to work long and hard, again as shown by their pursuing an MBA.
  4. High motivation, self-starters and self-confident, desirable blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, especially now that the top schools are making sure that their programs are a blend of the two.
  5. Strong analytical skills and a broader perspective, including an understanding of how the whole of the business functions and fits together.
  6. Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  7. Ability to work well in teams, with a wide range of people.
  8. Willingness and ability to work under great time and performance pressures.

    The negative attributes associated with MBAs from top schools include:

    1. Expectations of large salaries and rapid promotions.
    2. Lack of loyalty to a company, being devoted instead to their own careers – In sum, being a prima donna.
    3. Some go through an MBA just to get their ticket punched, example all consultants and most engineers.

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