I’ve often wondered why there is such a difference between how MBAs are viewed in Europe and the US. It may be obvious, but here’s my take – it’s cultural, and the reason why lies in cheap ads.
Here’s a sign I caught while waiting in line at a currency exchange:
Do you see that? The chap who started this little business put his name on the bottom. Keith Berkson is darn proud of being on that sign. More: if you’ve ever ridden a bus in the states, you’ll probably have noticed an LCD screen at the front pumping out cheap ads, and they’re full of these big chested characters wearing suits and big collars pointing at the screen to emphasise how much THIS product could save YOU.
That simply doesn’t happen in the UK. Our entrepreneurs, successful as they are, are almost embarrassed to be in that position. Our cheap ads consist of a cheesy voiceover, and a video of someone hammering their thumb before the Dremel Multitool comes out and saves the day.
Academically, the MBA is basically a big set of instructions in how to run a business properly. In a culture that values business so highly, it’s no surprise the MBA is also held in high regard here.