Is MBA necessary for being a good Manager?

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on August 29, 2015

The answer to the question "Is an MBA necessary for being a good Manager?" can be justified as ‘No’. But, if the turnover ratio of MBAs to Good Managers in comparison with ‘Non-MBAs’ is considered, then former may yield a higher number (though it might be difficult to get exact figures). For calling someone a good manager, it is important to first understand what defines a manager.

Talent vs Attitude

A Manager is someone who is involved in ‘Decision making’, for - businesses, organizations, households and the list can go on. And when the decisions taken by a manager are successful in producing expected results, then that person can be called as a good manager. Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an academic program, which is offered to impart knowledge on how analysis of businesses across various areas should be done.

MBA is assumed to equip sufficient knowledge to take decisions, but it never guarantees whether those decisions will prove fruitful. It will provide the talent required to become a manager, but good managers generally possess better attitude than talent (Best example- Mothers who manage households so efficiently). Hence the whole argument now boils down to Talent vs attitude.

So, what is required to be a good Manager?

No definite answer exists on who is the exact winner among Talent or Attitude. Attitude looks closer to the winning line, but unless it is built on the talent base, attitude might look like a hollow act. Take a simple game- ‘Tug of War’. Both of the sides might possess extraordinary physical strength, but the winner is that frame of mind, which says, ‘Little more, little more pull’. This simple scenario can be seen across any type of competition. But again, you should understand the problem at first place, only then you can approach towards it. In the movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, the main protagonist could have kept living his life in a prison, but since he had chosen life over prison, this attitude gave him that extra push to dig out his way with a hammer for continuous 19 years. There are many more similar facts and movies which fit into the talent and attitude debate, but the final point remains- It is the person inside you who wins.

But what is the Ideal Recipe?

A perennial problem, which Indian population always find is- There are enormous ways to quantify and measure how much knowledge an individual possess (If you can’t measure, then just reach out to your relatives and they will easily put across your talent report cards with a handy tool called – ‘Comparison of Results & Compensation’), but there is hardly any standard metric for measuring attitude. To solve this issue, it is essential to define the two terms central to this article. Oxford dictionary defines Talent as- Natural skill and Attitude as- A settled way of thinking or feeling about something. Here comes the irony part- People rush to build and measure the part which is natural and they somehow forget the thoughtful part. There is no surety on whether skills leads to better thinking, but if one starts to develop ‘Thinking Skills’, then the ideal recipe for a good manager has just been unearthed.

MBA- Must Build your Attitude

By now, this article may start to look like an overdose of Injection filled only with attitude, but this is what the purpose is- to switch the remote control from MBA-Manager mode to attitude hunting mode (not to forget some percent of talent also). MBA can just make managers, good or bad lies in the hand of individuals. What is required is understanding the relevance of this degree. Are you better suited to your current situation, or are there any other options to pursue your goals. There are countless instances where people feel about what they could have done better in their past, but not always one may walk on a correct path and that’s why it is said learn from your failures and no one will ever say learn from your success. This debate on the requirement of MBA leading to the management path may continue for ever, but people should always remember to continuously pursue the other MBA, which is ‘Must Build your Attitude’.

The article has been authored by Gaurav Maheshwari, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research (SIMSR), Mumbai.

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