20th February 2018

What They Teach at Business School

I’m going to come right out with it and ruffle a few feathers here in saying that if you approach your patronage of formally attending business school in the manner intended by the establishment then you may as well be enrolling to study any other degree course. You’re taking the “business” out of it all this way. If you look at it for what it is and perhaps with a little bit of a much-needed cynical eye then you’ll very easily equate the very concept of going to business school to something like going to creativity school.

Business itself or entrepreneurship isn’t something you can teach in traditional textbook style, but rather something which is to be experienced personally by being in the field. So the question which comes up then is that of whether or not it’s worth your time and effort going to business school. After all, many graduates who come away with some kind of business qualification such as an MBA go on to do really well for themselves, but does that mean they’re successful businesspersons?

What exactly do they teach in business school? It is the exploration thereof which shines a light on what business school is all about and it’s not really about equipping you with some special skills that will set you apart as someone who has a better chance of making a success out of their forays into the business world.

How business operates

Indeed one of the lessons if not the core lesson of business school is that of exactly how business works. Everybody knows how business works – we all know that the fundamentals of operating a business or doing business hinge on the very basic act of sourcing something which has the potential to be of value at what is your cost price and then adding a mark-up at which to sell it for a profit. This can be a product or service.

If there was a need for you rack up further student debt just so that you could learn this very basic principle in a rather verbose manner then by all means, go and get your MBA! That’s exactly what it is and I’m not trying to deter anyone from getting their MBA because actually there is some great value in going to business school, but it does not exist in the form which it’s primarily sold in. This leads me to my next point…

Building contacts

Any experienced entrepreneur who has realised some success will tell you for free that most of the lessons they learned were indeed learned on the job, while they were out in the field trying to make it rain. In business school the focus is mainly on standards and conventions which are associated with the business world, largely for compliance with governing institutions such as tax authorities and the likes.

Otherwise the true value one can get out of going to business school is that of what they get out of networking and building contacts. This fosters future collaborations and “looking out for each other” as former classmates.

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