A good business program will teach things that cannot ordinarily be mastered on the job easily and quickly, such as a good holistic sense finance, statistics, and managerial economics. It can also compress the time necessary to learn things that can be learned on the job, but only over a long period and with great effort and luck. In addition, an MBA 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 fits together and functions.
  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 impractically 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 consultants and many engineers just find an MBA as the next logical step.

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