We engaged with designers that did an MBA and asked them if they felt that it had the right return on investment, if it allowed them to evolve in their careers the way they somehow expected, planned. While all that did an MBA expressed that it was important, fundamental to their professional career, none of the ones we engaged described it as a deal breaker. One of the designers that did an MBA, asked why he had done it and his response was to break his own complex that he couldn’t do numbers, and something he discovered, that everything is possible if you can deal with each function of the company at a time.
The future of the MBA was also a topic of discussion, and the fact that many say there is an existential crisis, pushed aside by tech education, some seem to think having an MBA still rocks. According to our research, the reason why there aren’t more trained designers in the C-Suite of the F50 is because MBA degrees are still seen as prerequisite for these kind of positions, and that not all trained designers are suitable for such roles because running a company requires a different type is skillset to what a traditional designer might have, an additional corporate experience and professional development might be necessary. If you have many years of experience, you probably don’t need an MBA, but will take you longer.
If in the future an MBA will not hold the keys to the C-suite, then one might ask if there is some secret recipe. Not to our knowledge, while a bachelor’s degree may well be in one of the design/ architecture/ art schools that exist, and even if they change and bring in earlier basics and knowledge of business, management and marketing, the issue of preparation is much more connected to decisions after the Bachelor’s degree and include a combination of formal training + hands-on training + experience in taking on missions, jobs that might not align nicely with a typical, traditional design career.