There’s been quite a bit of press recently questioning the benefits of a business education for those who want to start their own businesses. For instance, in an article titled “You Could Get There Faster Without An MBA” in the Business Insider, author Jay Bhatti says that the cost and the time commitments for getting an MBA make the degree less valuable than just jumping right in and innovating.
In a recent episode of Fox’s new sitcom The New Girl, Zooey Deschanel’s normally-frumpy character, Jess, is asked by a male roommate to accompany him as his date to a wedding in order to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. For the occasion, the male roommate tells Jess that she needs to wear a dress that will basically turn heads.
She does, and the episode descends into a zany, mischievous lark, where the ex-girlfriend does not get jealous, but rather happy that the male roommate has moved on and has apparently found somebody else. Jess’ experiences bring up the idea of “erotic capital” – that women (generally, although the concept can apply to men, too) can take advantage of their looks and sex appeal to persuade and coerce.
Catherine Hakim might say that Jess leveraged her erotic capital in an attempt to affect a social situation. Hakim is the author of Honey Money: The Power of Erotic Capital, a recent book that has been making waves among some book reviewers and social critics.
There’s a good story in a recent edition of the Independent that discusses Ashcroft International Business School’s new campus building in Cambridge (which just opened this month,) and why it’s important for new students starting there in September.
Significantly, the new building, the design of which is based on smaller lecture locations and more informal spaces, emphasizes an increased shift to dispersed group learning. Steven Wilson, the school’s head of learning and teaching development, told the Independent that the new addition is representative of a larger change in teaching philosophy, and that:
“These days, there is far more emphasis on team working and individual project work. Students told us they wanted a large area set aside for collaborative working where they wouldn’t need to worry about disturbing others. It’s all about getting the best out of the available space.”
Indeed, recently, a number of business schools have been changing up their campuses and adding new buildings to replace old ones. What’s interesting is that beyond the whiz-bang of added new technology (of which there is plenty,) many of the new designs are reflecting shifting philosophies, not just in how business is taught, but how it is conducted in the real world.
In a recent story in the Independent, Diane Morgan, the associate dean of the London Business School, said that she hopes to recruit more women in this year’s MBA recruitment process – so that women represent 30% of the total intake. While the increase is somewhat marginal (LBS’ percentage of women students is currently at 28%,) Morgan’s announcement does reflect a larger trend where business schools are beginning to appreciate the idea of gender diversity, and taking proactive steps to equalize the playing field.
Entrepreneurship cannot be just learned in the classroom, says Emily Gohn Cieri of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. You have to get out there and do it. Cieri is managing director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs at Wharton. We asked her how an MBA can help aspiring entrepreneurs.
How can an MBA benefit aspiring entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship cuts across every business discipline – management, marketing, operations, legal…. – studied in a business school. For an entrepreneur, it’s critical to have a broad understanding of these various disciplines, but also to understand how to these disciplines work together.
When an entrepreneur builds a business, he or she cannot focus only on one issue at a time, but must be able to understand how to integrate them. From my experience, many times students seek an MBA to complement their strong technical or engineering background or industry-specific skills, with a full range of business skills that are needed to be an effective entrepreneur.