Is MBA necessary to become a successful manager

MBA as the name suggests stands for Masters in Business Administration. It is an academic discipline which trains students for a career in management. The demand for this stream sprung after the economic liberalisation in 1991. The economic liberalisation paved the way for many private companies to venture into India. The companies needed good managers to build their businesses and were willing to pay top dollar to the new brand of executives. The three-letter acronym spelt money as well as social status. Management after that became a sought after career for students and MBA was the key to success. But is MBA worth or is MBA required to become a successful manager?

Is MBA necessary to become a successful manager

According to a report, there are at least 5500 B-schools in India at present. Including unapproved institutes could make that number much higher. No doubt, the MBA has become the most sought after degree in the country. In the present scenario, with everyone planning to get into an MBA, people have started believing that an MBA is necessary to become a successful manager which may or may not be always true. This discussion has been the favorite topic in Written Ability Test or Group Discussion during B Scholl admission process. Let us dwell into the broader picture here, is MBA required or is it worth doing MBA?

Why MBA???

A survey was done by Harvard Business review to analyze and rank the performance of 2000 CEOs around the globe. The survey showed that the CEOs who had an MBA on an average ranked 40 places higher than CEOs who were not an MBA graduate. Why is this so? What is it that an MBA teaches the CEOs? Is MBA required to become a CEO? Is MBA worth? So why does an MBA help CEOs rank higher in the survey? Here are some skills developed during an MBA which helps CEOs with MBA degree rank higher:

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Commitment and Focus

An MBA course is rigorous. A regular day of an MBA student includes case discussions, group exercises, quizzes, internships and several competitions going along simultaneously. Handling all these pressures at the same time teaches them how to balance things in life. Thereafter helping them to become a committed and focused manager. With these skills, the manager can handle pressure easily and won’t give up in the difficult times.


An effective manager has to have great communication skills. MBA course curriculum makes sure that your written and oral skills are well polished during the 2-year course. Regular class presentations not only helps boost your confidence but also enables you to become a good orator. Written communication in the form of emails and assignments helps you to put forward your opinion effectively.

Decision-making skills

A key aspect of management and leadership is able to make effective decisions and think quickly on your feet. The case discussions and article presentations help them analyze critical industry problems in real time and develop decision-making skills. In the course of the program, a slew of real business cases is discussed in an MBA curriculum which impacts students the prudence to deal with such situations in their career.

Leadership Skills

A good manager should be a great leader. Throughout an MBA, students focus on developing and building specific managerial skills such as leadership in practice and leadership, management and development. They learn how to resolve team conflicts, devise company strategies and manage human resources. MBA graduates do not just learn abstract theories and concepts though; they also learn how to apply these skills to real-life business situations.

Team Orientation

Just as a successful and profitable business is the work of all its employees, so is the work of an MBA candidate. As a part of course curriculum, MBA students often work in teams on various projects and eventually students learn how to work effectively in groups.


Some of today’s top business leaders are those who think “outside the box” and develop ingenious solutions to common problems. An MBA graduate, over the course of his study, gets a plethora of cases wherein he will be required to come up with innovative and realistic solutions for the problem. Thus forcing him to put his creative hat on. 

Thus the objective of an MBA program is to develop competent managerial qualities that not only accelerate their career growth but also help them in becoming socially responsible business leaders of tomorrow so that they can contribute to the welfare of the nation as a whole.

We have examples of several industry leaders like Mrs Indra Nooyi – Former CEO of PepsiCo, Mr Sanjeev Bhikchandani – Founder of, Mr Raghuram Rajan – former RBI Governor among others who are MBA graduates from premier B-schools and are leading successfully in diverse fields. 

Is MBA Necessary???

While we find that there are several examples of successful MBA leaders, we also have global business leaders like Warren Buffet, Michael dell, Oprah Winfrey who are considered to be the paragons of leadership but they do not possess an MBA degree. 

While qualities like commitment, focus, communication, leadership, decision-making skills, and team orientation are essential to be a good manager, an MBA degree is not always necessary to develop these skills. There is no surety on whether skills leads to better thinking, but if one starts to develop thinking skills, then it will be an ideal recipe for a good manager. 

Thus, to pursue an MBA or not is the personal choice of any individual. While an MBA degree helps you build leadership traits over the period of 2 years training, there are examples of people who were born leaders and despite an MBA degree are doing quite well as decision makers in their companies. So, if you feel that you need to acquire and hone these skills, the MBA would be the right choice for you. But if you believe that you already possess these skills, well you can still turn out to be an effective manager. 


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