MBAS…do they still matter? Did they ever? Does the value depend on the country your in, or is it a universal bonus to have those three letters on your resume? And if it is, does that mean you need to invest in an Ivy League education?

People at all stages of their career wonder about the value of formal education vs. going it alone with self-study. Is it worth the money, time, and stress to go for an MBA? The answer to that question lies in ROI. What will you get back from all that investment? Will you learn the things you really need? Will it even help get you hired? Or help you climb the ladder faster after getting hired?

It all comes down to one question: Do companies still care about MBAs?

Dr. Yoko Ishikura is joined by Dr. Helmutt Schutte, Tomoya Nakamura, and Dr. Ravi Kumar to discuss the relevancy of MBAs in today’s business world—and how some of the best programs will soon be found in Asia.

“If you go for an MBA, you’ll be equipped to run a company in your early thirties.”


Dr. Yoko Ishikura (00:12):

Do companies, it doesn’t have to be in Asia, still see the value of an MBA?

Dr. Hellmut Schutte (00:23):


Dr. Yoko Ishikura (00:23):

What else do you expect, right?

Dr. Hellmut Schutte (00:28):

No, no, no, no. I think what we have—you’re referring to the situation in the United States where there’s an oversupply of very often mediocre quality and huge salary expectations. There is a crisis. I don’t see any kind of crisis of this nature in Asia.

Tomoya Nakamura (00:46):

If you go to a multinational company or joint venture between a foreign firm and a Japanese firm, there’s definite demand. And maybe the paycheck is bigger in foreign companies or multinational companies. And the MBA is viewed [positively], especially in Japan because we are grown as generalists. You know, you don’t have a specialization early on in your career. So if you go for an MBA, a lot of CEOs [and] COOs say it’s worth ten years of experience.

In Japan, you get to become management, in typical Japanese companies, around forty. But if you go for an MBA, probably you’ll be equipped to run a company in you early thirties. So I think that’s a big difference that an MBA brings.

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Dr. Hellmut Schutte (01:35):

The time is over that everybody has to troop to Harvard. First of all, they cannot take everybody. And secondly, what’s taught there may not be relevant. I think one has to be very clear—and I have been a Harvard professor before, of course—that requires a lot of hard work also from the business school. Excellence in teaching and new material. And a view which is truly interesting on the world and not limited to how to do business in Japan or how to do business in China.

That’s not enough. That’s what has been done beforehand. But I think we should hope that in the next few years, or in ten years from now, among the top business schools in the world, there should be at least five or so from Asia. I see no reason why this cannot happen.

Dr. Ravi Kumar (02:28):

The opportunities are here, the growth is here, and the diversity is here, I think. And we have great students out here, too. So just putting the system in place, the positioning in place, and how you’re going to get students the kind of jobs that they desire, the kind of experiences, the careers that they want. I think they can be easily done.

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