Opinions are mixed. So we asked seven
top MBA'ed execs to rate their experiences.
Sure, some experts have recently sneered at the value of a Master
of Business Administration degree, but the number of executives
with MBAs is still swelling. A study this year found that nearly 40
percent of the CEOs leading the top 100 companies in America have
MBAs, up from just 26 percent five years ago. And today, some 340
U.S. universities offer MBA degrees.
This is true despite some bad press for MBA execs. A recent study
by researchers at Stanford University found that MBA degrees - with
the exception of MBAs from certain top schools like Harvard and, of
course, Stanford - don't help executives very much in their jobs
and don't increase their rates of pay. In fact, former Apple
marketing whiz Guy Kawasaki recently put the value of an MBA degree
at "about negative $250,000."
Clearly, though, many executives don't buy those arguments. They
counter that their MBA degrees have paid huge dividends, advancing
their careers and providing them with skills, contacts, and
knowledge they couldn't have gotten anywhere else. To that end,
recently discussed the MBA experience with
several top-level executives from publicly traded U.S. companies
with familiar names like Saks and Wyndham. Here's what they had to
BING GORDON, 54
Co-founder and chief creative officer,
Electronic Arts Inc.
The company: A $3 billion tech juggernaut that stands out as the
top video-game publisher in the U.S., with popular titles such as
and Madden NFL Football
Why the MBA?
Gordon had parlayed his undergraduate degree
from prestigious Yale University into a fizzling writing career,
some off-Broadway acting stints, and commercial fishing work off
the Oregon coast. Understandably, he went back to school.