Rethinking the MBA

The traditional MBA graduate no longer has the skills to meet the business challenges of the current age.  A new article by my good friend Melissa Dingmon explains the problems with a traditional business education:

“Traditional MBA programs are built on the assumption that any decision with the potential to reduce short-term returns for stockholders is ultimately unethical. Core MBA courses (accounting, finance, operations, economics, marketing, etc.) train business leaders to endlessly work towards maximizing these short-term returns. And the logic goes, if you are able to achieve that, you and your businesses will be successful in the eyes of the accepted status quo. The downside: Many decisions that maximize short-term financial gains often come with negative externalities, such as natural resource depletion, pollution and social injustice.”

Dingmon goes on to tell us the three most important parts of an education built around sustainability, especially:

Systems Thinking-It’s time to begin understanding how each part of one system has an effect on another.  We can no longer just ignore the problems we create as a society, because they will (and are) just going to bite us in the ass later on.

Sustainability-We need to begin measuring success in ways that have a neutral or positive effect on our environment.  We can no longer run a business that relies on a supply chain which it is unknowingly destroying.

Wide Analytic Skills-Students must be able to think in terms that haven’t traditionally been measured, like social impact or environmental worth.  Figuring out how to measure new aspects of a business requires creativity and honesty.

I’d like to add one more to that list, which is mentioned briefly.  Transparency is going to be one of the most important aspects of a modern business in a world where information is more and more accessible and easily spread.

And here’s a quick plug for the creator of the article:

Melissa Dingmon is a freelance Social Media Manager for and Director of Admissions and Systems Design for Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She is a BGI alumna, having earned her MBA in Sustainable Business in 2006. Her personal brand, SustainableMBA, focuses on her passions: sustainability, business, social justice, health and humor.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Awe shucks! I am honored. Just to be clear on this: Alex Salkin really helped to write this piece through his thoughtful editing and comments. Thank you Alex!!


  2. Awesome. A very good breakdown of the major tenets and each one would fit well on a BGI business card, postcard, scout book, etc! Let’s get some BGI branded products launched and out the door. Also, a major hat tip for bringing up transparency as this seems to be a common recurring theme this year.




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