October 12, 2013 | In: Opinion

The MBA Is a Scam

A few years ago – I applied for MBA candidacy at Concordia – twice. I even published my statement of purpose on this blog.

The first time I was accepted, I didn’t have the time to attend even the first session, so I opted out. The second time I was accepted, I attended a week and then I dropped it because I realized that the whole problem is nonsense, here’s why:

  • Many of the people who got accepted in the program were less than 25. It was a bit weird because all candidates were supposed to have a few years of managerial experience. So, either these people had outstanding skills, or they lied in their application. Judging from the conversation I had with a few, I’d go with the latter.
  • The first course I took was with a professor whose last name was apple something. Can’t remember exactly. The course was about Organizational Management if I’m not mistaken. In the very first session, the professor asked us to read about 10 white papers, each about 20-30 pages long by Thursday. We were on a Tuesday. I don’t know about others, but I think it was stupid.

  • The second course I took was a Finance course given by a professor who can’t speak understandable English (and neither French, for that matter). Now, I’m an immigrant myself so if anyone has some “you’re racist remarks” stuff, please keep it to yourself. Additionally, that professor assumed that everyone in the class took advanced finance courses previously, which was a very wrong assumption.

  • The whole program was generally amateurish where professors didn’t know exactly what should be taught and shouldn’t. In any case, anything useful that can be learned in an MBA class can be learned in real life.

The above reasons alone were enough for me to dump the program and never look back. A contributing factor to my decision was the fact that a previous manager in the company I used to work for was a mentor in the MBA program at McGill. That manager hadn’t even finished high school and was making less than $150k a year. Enough said! The owner of the company I used to work for (who was a great leader), was right when he told me, “Why on Earth do you want to do an MBA? Look at their mentor!”

But the answer to his question is that the MBA is being marketed as the path to the big dough jobs. Yes – if you want a $200k+ job, then you should do an MBA, it’ll propel your career! I think whoever did an MBA knows that this is a lie. An MBA only gets you undeserved prestige, and that’s about it. It won’t land you a good job and it won’t turn you into a better man (or woman).

Now, perhaps a good question is, why are universities focusing on this program and promoting it as the next big thing? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Money! Unfortunately, universities worldwide have ceased to be non-profit organizations and they are all now for-profit (although they all claim to be non-profit for tax reasons and to get subsidy money). In fact, an MBA degree worldwide costs about $60,000. Yet, at Concordia for example, you only pay about 10% of that if you’re are a Quebec resident, because the rest is subsidized by the government through other people’s tax dollars. That is sad! What’s even sadder is that most of these Quebec residents leave Canada altogether once they get the citizenship and work in other countries where the pay is much more lucrative and tax-free. So, even if the MBA does have a small intrinsic value, it’s rarely used to benefit Canada that subsidized it in the first place. Very sad!

Now, if a Canadian university charges $60,000 for the program, and if it accepts about 100 students every year (which is more or less the exact number), then the total cost for these students would be $6 million (not too bad to handsomely pay some lame “doctors” and save some money on the side to fund other nonsense programs so that they can extort even more money from the government) about $5.4 million of which are paid by the provincial government directly and the federal government indirectly. That’s too much money to fund a fake degree for people who don’t deserve it!

So, what needs to be done?

I think the government should stop subsidizing these so-called “programs” such as the MBA. One university that did the right thing was McGill, which willingly opted out of the government subsidy a few years ago and now their MBA costs $70,000 to be directly paid by the student. The provincial government, however, fought McGill’s decision but the latter did not change its mind. Why does the government still insist on funding this nonsense is just beyond me. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that people, in any society/country, are entitled to free (or mostly subsidized) higher education.

Perhaps, at one point in time, a couple of decades ago, an MBA degree was real when only a few prestigious universities offered it, but now that its value is diluted by Bugs Bunny/online universities worldwide offering MBAs, it has become a waste of time and money – and some, including myself, think of it as a sophisticated scam. The problem is, neither the government sees this and nor the majority of taxpayers care. It’s only a waste about $5.4 million dollar per program per university, after all!

This article (as well as all other articles on this website) is an intellectual property and copyright of Fadi El-Eter and can only appear on fadi.el-eter.com.

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