Archive for June 2012

Finally, I can come out of the closet about my MBA. Yes, I have one and from a decent school.  But having an MBA in Silicon Valley is like having an 11th finger, and I don’t even mention it unless someone looks at my resume.

Ben Horowitz at Andreessen Horowitz blogged that it might be time to take a second look at hiring MBAs. Perhaps the cold war against MBAs is beginning to thaw.  And I get it: when I was hired at AOL in the mid-1990s, MBAs were brought in to help put processes in place and rationalize the gut decisions. There were many reasons for what drove AOL to becoming a media company and away from its community (AOL was the ‘social network’ of its day), but having a bunch of MBAs crowing about cash flow and looking for ways to pump up the stock price didn’t help.

But there are also a whole bunch of MBAs who have been in the trenches and understand the fragile dynamic between going with what works and the reflexive instinct to whiteboard a flow chart.  A lot about getting a business degree is about having a tool kit to think through issues and prioritize what’s important to work on.  Of course, you don’t need an MBA to get these tools, but you do get a person who can be a good counterbalance to a technical and/or young management team (see Zuckerberg/Sandberg of Facebook).

Still, I don’t plan on bringing it up at the next cocktail party.