Tesla founder Elon Musk isn’t impressed by your master’s degree in business administration. Judging from the disapproval from a strong majority of voices, Musk’s willingness to share that stance wasn’t particularly well-received.
“I think there might be too many MBAs running companies,” Musk said during the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit conducted online. “There’s the MBA-ization of America, which I think is maybe not that great. There should be more focus on the product or service itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials.”
Readers of the Journal began the blowback almost immediately. “Do we really think that investor focus on financials is an MBA-education problem?” asked Rich Lyons, the former dean of UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “Do firms with fewer MBAs on their boards and senior teams have shorter meetings? I’m skeptical.”
Glenn Hubbard, former Columbia Business School dean, illustrated the importance of an advanced degree. “He [Musk] is a visionary, but many CEOs do well at vision and execution with the benefit of an MBA, or with a strong team of MBAs,” said Hubbard, according to the Journal.
Musk, the No. 2 wealthiest person on Earth, also stressed the importance of hands-on work and observation. “When I have spent too much time in a conference room, that’s when things have gone awry, and when I go spend time on the factory floor or really using the cars, thinking about the rockets, that’s where things have gone better,” he said.
Musk, 49, said in March that colleges are “basically for fun and to prove that you can do your chores, but they’re not for learning,” according to The Guardian. Musk, who does not have a graduate degree, holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and physics from the University of Pennsylvania.