Contradictory to recent statements about the "MBA-ization of America," business school and MBA graduates worldwide use their business school knowledge to spur innovation, advance understanding through research, and create positive impact in our societies.
As president and CEO of AACSB International, the largest and longest-standing association for business education and accreditor of the best business schools in the world, I am writing in response to Elon Musk’s statement on the “MBA-ization of America” and its inaccurate portrayal of what an MBA education offers.
While I have great respect for Musk’s exceptional engineering intellect and futuristic business ventures, his broad statement about MBAs misrepresents and undermines the many contributions of business schools, their alumni, and countless influential leaders who have spurred innovation in business and moved our society forward.
Imagine a world where the MBA education that produced these influential leaders did not exist. Even with Musk’s incredible talents, he would not be able to fulfill his vision for new products. He could not establish a new business, have a board of directors, trade stock, recruit talent, secure office space, access computer networks, source and order materials, manage finances, market and sell his products, or have access to fuel to visit new planets.
Many of the business practices we rely on today grew out of research conducted in business schools and from the great minds of MBAs and other business graduates in the past century, where entrepreneurship and innovation continue to flourish.
Let’s agree that the world needs more Elon Musks—and more purpose-driven business leaders with the passion and vision to make a difference. MBAs provide the business acumen, critical thinking, analytics, and communications skills needed to ensure business success globally.
Caryn L. Beck-Dudley
President and CEO
This piece was originally submitted to The Wall Street Journal in response to the article, "Elon Musk Decries 'M.B.A.-ization' of America."