Rethink the MBA - Part 6 - MBA or Not, You Are Still You

"If you find yourself thinking that your life will be 180 degrees different because you have an MBA, you’re forgetting that you are still you, whether or not you have an MBA."

On this episode, Micah reads Part 6 of his book "Rethink the MBA", and talks about the mental mistakes that you have to avoid if you want to win the MBA game. He also tells you the 3 things you must do before you apply to business school.

This episode includes the following chapters from Micah's book, Rethink the MBA, Why Business School is Riskier Than You Think:


Chapter 31: Take the Easy Way
Micah explains how there are a lot of mental mistakes you have to avoid in order to get an MBA for the right reasons. Of all of these, the single greatest mistake is to believe that the MBA is the “only way” to obtain your Dream Job. Be careful. You probably feel that way because an MBA is actually just the easiest way to obtain your Dream Job.

Chapter 32: Go to Learn
Micah warns students who think they'll be learning a lot in business school that the mountains of homework, readings, and two to three hour daily meetings with classmates, make this extremely difficult. When you add the need to spend time with your family, and of course, go drinking with your b-school buddies, it begs the question: who could possibly "learn" all that material in this environment? Simple. No one. And no one even pretends to.

Chapter 33: Confuse Luck and Talent
Micah has an insightful warning about applying to top MBA programs without understanding why you want to go. If you get into a top program, you’ll probably think that you were uniquely chosen for your business acumen, leadership experience, and track record of academic excellence. That’s total bulls**t. There are thousands of amazing people that apply to the top schools and don’t get accepted. They’re equally as talented as you; they just weren’t equally as lucky.

Chapter 34: Ignore the Numbers
Micah explains that there’s a big problem with ignoring the MBA table stakes before you attend b-school. Once you get your first bill for $50,000, this newfound knowledge gives you a mental excuse to re-examine your original motivations for attending b-school. This problem is even worse because your self-doubt will be occurring at the exact same time as the start of recruiting season (also known as “the first day of school”).

Chapter 35: Want a Break
Micah warns about having “resume gap” thinking...going to business school to take a break from work, rather than taking an actual (productive) break. The problem with this "resume gap" thinking is that it discourages you from being more creative and adventurous about taking a sabbatical from work, and instead puts you in a hugely expensive environment where you don't have much time to pursue your other interests in the first place.

Chapter 36: Rationalizing Alumni
Micah explains that if you want to learn more about business school, avoid rationalizing alumni. These MBA grads fail to account for the many non-MBA factors that contributed to their success. They also discount the alternative ways they could have gotten to the same level of success without an MBA. Instead, they have a lot of bumper stickers, hats, and sweatshirts plastered with the name of their alma mater. They will make you feel like you’ll never be successful if don’t have an MBA.

Chapter 37: Ignore the Counterfactual
Micah leaves you with a fun thought experiment: Imagine a pair of twins who are equally capable, who went to the same college, had the same GPA, and now work in the same industry after graduation. The first twin decides to get an MBA. The second twin doesn’t. Who would do better in their career over the long run?

Chapter 38: Rethink the MBA
Micah explains the 3 things you must do before you get an MBA, and explains how to connect with him about your career if you're still struggling to make this difficult and important decision.