GD Monday – “An MBA is necessary to become a successful manager” – Week 7

We hope all of you are benefiting from our online GDs and taking home some valuable tips to apply them in the real time GDs that are soon to follow for most call-getters! You can go through all the topics in the series over here.. You can share your views on the topic in the comments section.. (All the comments/views in the discussion are being rated on a scale of 10 by our experts, along with an explanation)

‘Clichés are clichés because they work’ and the more clichéd a topic seems, the greater the scope of driving the discussion to your advantage. So, all potential b-school grads, tell us if you think otherwise – because an MBA is definitely necessary to become a successful manager. Or is it?

This is how it will work :

1) Users can post their arguments or views using their Twitter/Wordpress/OpenID accounts in the comments section below.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week.

3) The thread will be moderated by Prerna Lalwani a.k.a Peru to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM,XLRI,ISB only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.


You can go through all the topics in the series over here



Rohit Halder

An MBA degree is neither necessary nor sufficient to become a successful manager. Numerous examples can be taken from world over if we were to look for people who have excelled in terms of management and leadership skills without having any idea about MBA.People like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have not only shown their leadership skills to the world, but also made way for many others to follow. If one has the ability to cope up with the market fluctuations and make the right decisions at the right time, then what is the need to have an MBA. Of course one needs both financial and social support in order to start as an entrepreneur. Management and leadership skills can't be taught to someone, they just come from within. An MBA degree does help in getting that extra edge over others and also gives market exposure along with the platform to enhance ones personality. To sum up, an MBA does teach one how to become a manager, but doesn't guaranty one to succeed in it.


The companies that are being talked about like the apple and Microsoft were established in 1970-80's when there was no or very less competition.Now the market has changed and you require people who are well aware of the market changes.These companies require people with managerial skills


4/10 Reactionary comments and also narrow focus. You could have built up more and spoken about things that a MBA brings to the table. As a rule, try not to react directly to any one point you don't agree with unless you have a solid point to demolish it.


No one shouldn't be biased on certain fact that an MBA is not required for being a successful manager, pity apparent that Mr Gates and Jobs drove there whole way of success with innovation and compassion, on the other hand as the owner of Hathaway Berkshire (Warren Buffet) always given priority to be a skilled manager in terms of managing resources or finance or technology which requires a deeper analysis of corporate subjects. In a recent example Merissa Mayer the New Prez and CEO of yahoo given a turn around profit over 1 billion $ in just 1 quater has no post graduate management degree, whereas in survey, over 90% of all the CEO's in the world has an MBA in there profile. So in my perspective it depends on individual. I believe MBA is most important for this part of job where you are an important node to be the most efficient Decision Support System..


6/10 Too much jargon completely overshadows the point you are trying to make. The data provided shows that you read but could it have been presented better? Your communication and delivery require work.


6/10 Decent Start but falters at the end. No one can dispute your argument as such but it could be better presented. Maybe you could have spoken about the skills that an MBA degree provides and skills that it does not. Actually, the trick to do well in this GD is to shift the discussion from whther MBA is necessary to what qualities does a successful manager have?


I think Rohit makes a very fair point when he says MBA doesn't necessarily guarantee success. But then even education doesn't but we still send our children to school right? Business nowadays is changing by the day and a lot of data comes in that needs to be analysed. An MBA gives you an idea of each facet of an organisation and this is useful because as you rise up the corporate ladder the scope of your work increases. Plus if MBA wasn't necessary, then why do you see a lot of managers with 5-7 years of experience going back to study MBA in the form of an executive MBA?


they go for an mba bcoz they want to increase the domain of their work. but even in the limited domain prior to mba, a person can be a successful manager. the focus shud b on 'managing' and not on the 'domain of work'


3/10 – How do you know for sure that people pursure Exec MBA to 'increase domain of their work'. Aren't we being presumptous? Do you have any research or data? Point on 'managing ' and 'domain of work' is irrelevant to this discussion. Also reactionary comments which are best avoided unless you have a solid retort.


agreeing to what he said an MBA degree equips you with the tools required for facing the challenges and its upto a person's discretion how to use it.And without an MBA degree ,its difficult to learn to use such tools.
For example in such a dynamic and rapidly changing environment ,you need to study market say for launching a product …these skills are learned in MBA


7/10 Good point – Executive MBA. Opens up the discussion further. The remaining points are meh. Doesn't add much value to the discussion.


Of course there are things like decision making capabilities, or marketing insight which can't be taught to you. And there are several people who have proved their worth without MBA degree. But there are people who have talent within them but need some guidance. MBA is not only about theoretical knowledge. You learn a lot more. In good b schools, there is field work where you interact with people n learn a lot of practical stuff. so may b its not necessary as such but its very important.


5/10 – Good point about field work and interaction with peers. Should have built on that more to differentiate yourself from the din in the GD

ankur gupta

mba introduces you with the different aspects of a business. it provides us a holistic knowledge about the various departments which a business has to deal with. It also prepares us to deal with pressure and stringent deadlines, which we will all have to face in our work in real life. hence after doing mba, one is better equipped with skills which are needed to manage one's work. But it does not guarantee that a person will become a successful manager later bcoz success also depends on his own inherent skills like decision making, ability to relate oneself with his work, etc. these skills cannot be taught. hence a person without an mba may also bcom a good managr if he has these skills inherent in him. with a few yrs of work exprience, he can gain the skills which are taught in a bschool and can become a successful manager.


5/10 – Starts of well by clearly spelling out what a MBA gives but falters away with no real depth in the later points. Very run of the mill stuff towards the end of the argument.


Yes and no. The answer varies with every individual. To understand what I mean, let's look at what's expected of a manager (or a successful manager.) A manager is responsible for planning, directing, controlling and motivating (Have I left out anything? 'Managing', perhaps!) a project. All the above aspects are dealt with, in good measure, in an MBA program. But what cannot be forced on to any student are the ethical values, which are important determinants of success. Hence, a manager may be adept at what he does, but the thing that matters most is 'what' rather than 'how well'. And these cannot be 'taught'.
Moving away from the ethical perspective, the skills befitting a manager can also be acquired beyond the walls of a classroom. In fact, the truth is that business leaders are not made in classrooms! This is not to say that an MBA is gratuitous. An MBA gives a determined aspirant the right direction and resources, and expedites the learning curve. So the main advantage of the program is right guidance. An MBA may not be a sine qua non for a successful manager, but when put to good use it can make a huge difference to any person and the society at large.
An MBA is a powerful tool that comes with a recommendation: Use it well!


7/10 – Good idea to bring ethics in but you should have built more on that. Overall a good balanced argument but falls short of spectacular.


I dont wanna take any side.But now a days everything is commercialized including water.If you want to become an IAS officer, we have coaching centres from 6th class.In the same way for being a good manager people find that getting an MBA is a casuality.The exception cases You(ROHIT HALDER) were talking about, they were destined to be managers and i am pretty sure that they are not only the best people u can find in this field.May be they are too intelligent to crack the code, when they come across the problem for the 2nd or 3rd time.Now MBA gives you the exposure to this kind of real life cases where u were supposed to take a decision that fits good to the organization.Now guys with normal IQ may crack the case in their 6th or 7th time.Now every one had reached a threshold and now the graduates are good to go.MBA just boosts your manegerial skills within very less time.After all no one ever had or will define some set of manegerial skills.


I think the solution depends upon how you view MBA? If you view MBA as just another degree, then I think it is not sufficient to make a good and successful manager as you can learn these skills by various experiences. But if you view MBA as a learning curve and do it seriously in a good institute, then yes, it is necessary to make you a good manager. Because what you will experience as real life problems during a managerial job, you will come to know about a theoretical solution during an MBA. So when you actually face a problem, atleast you have a starting point. Agreed that skill building has to come from inside, but if the proper skills are built, then I think a theoretical knowledge of the problem will enable fast thinking and you can relate and apply to all this while doing a job. I think that is the reason there is an executive MBA. To provide theoretical solutions so that the student will relate to the real life problem and will improvise using the skills built in him during an MBA and provide a far efficient and better solution. So, if done with passion and with the aim of skill building, an MBA is very much necessary to build a good manager.


MBA masters in business administration makes you more skillful in business dealings, teaches you management skill and makes you more confident.And a manager requires all these skill to be succesful in his profession. But it is not that MBA is the only way to acquire these skills. MBA provides us the shortest path to gain these skills. There have been leaders in the world who have not done MBA but are doing good as leaders. To become a succesful manager one requires to have optimistic attitude, team work skills, Integrity and trustworthiness. But with rising demands of todays corporate work MBA has become almost a necessity to be a succesful manager because generally people dont get that much of exposure in their work so as to develop those skills.It is the exposure and your ability that is mandatory to become a succesful manager.


A MBA degree is not a necessary quatification for Managerial skills but i cannot deny the fact that it adds an extra spark to your personality and inceases you understanding about market and other aspect of life in shorter span of time.


let me rephrase the topic. an MBA is necessary bla bla bla, i would prefer calling this as MBA from a best b school is necessary bla bla bla – yes, mba from a good bschool has a better edge. it exposes to variety of students, gives us the best faculty and what not. best b schools charge in 10' s of lakhs. still many students dont mind it, because they know its worth it! now let me come to the next word -success. it is different to different people. if money is what success to you, and you wan to be successful in the beginning of the career itself ,then i think this degree is needed. but if you are bold enough to take risks and become an entrepreneur by your own, like how dheerubai ambani etc have done, you can become so without any degree. nevertheless do consider that these people whom i just mentioned, have made their sons do MBA! so that speaks a lot for us!


5/10 – You have a point with regards to MBA from a good school which no one else brought up but your articulaton and depth of other points is found lacking

Prince Doshi

In my view the answer is NO. I have heard that what a student learns there is moulding of his thoughts into an well guided flow of thinking helping him to manage things effectively. However, for this a child is being trained right from his kinder garten days. Strong academic background of a school has remained only one of the many criterias for sending a child to the school. Personality development and approach to fight today's competitive world has gained significance. Leadership and management qualities cannot be enforced but are developed from ur day to day experience. Even managing small events (instance a social function) helps this. Even a housewife is a very efficient manager. U wud be wondering that this is not meant for a corporate leader but trust these instances builds u as a manager in much more effecient manner because u have moulded urself to adapt to any situation. Also, training schedules are organised by every organization today to mould their 'employees' into useful 'resources'. So its upto an individual how he moulds himself and "MBA" for this is not a prerequisite. And when u talk about a manager in a consultancy firm, half of the tricks taught in the IIM schools may not work.


7/10 – Good arguments with a great point on even a housewife being a good manager, organizing small events and social function. Gives a more broad nature to the discussion


MBA refines your skills-set & provides you a set of directives to follow as & when you find yourself in a similar problem. Agreed that we have examples like Steve jobs/Bill gates who didn't had a formal education but still are leaders in their fields but at the same time there are n no. of people who are MBA's & leading their co's really well which far exceeds the no. which is non-MBA.
A good learning environment will equip you with the ability to view situations /people with a different perspective.


Lets not mix leaders and managers on a single plateform.Here discussion is about managers.Managers are supposed to manage resources it may be human,it may be capital.MBA course is a applied course.It trains about different aspects of business environment and how these environment affects business.If a manager don't know about nitty gritty of finance he can't manage capital and d same way if a manager don't have knowledge about fundamentals of human aspects it will be difficult to understand employee needs.Offcourse some of the skills can be developed with time but MBA eqips a person to manage effectively resources.


I belong to the school of thought that managerial skills can be taught.There might be certain inherent traits that make few people inborn managers but even they would become better managers through organized and methodological education provided by MBA courses. An MBA is necessary for becoming a good manager because the college acts as a laboratory to experiment and experience nitty-gritties of management under the guidance of professors and support of fellow students. Later, when the student is out in the real world, these lessons can be applied with much confidence and a lesser probability of errors.

In a study of companies listed in S&P 500, 5 CEOs were MBAs for the top 10 companies and only 2 CEOs were CEOs from the bottom 10 companies.On an average there are 40% CEOs with MBA degree. This clearly suggests that CEOs with MBA degree are better at managing
and generating value for their companies.


Deciding upon MBA's relevance only by looking on the likes of Dhirubhai Ambani and Steve Jobs would be judging a chocolate from it's wrapper, one has to look at the majority of the manager's as such and their contribution. Any organization may it be reliance or apple is run by the large number of manager's running the company efficiently at every level, who in most cases are MBA's from reputed institutions. Also the human civilization has progressed mainly because of the fact that we learn from our ancestors and develop new methodology which is done at any reputed MBA college learning from the past and present and developing new technologies. While i agree that being an MBA is not a pre-requisite for being a successful manager but an MBA surely helps a person in realising his potential.


I think that the term “success” is a very relative term. Everybody has different perceptions to define this term.

People who go for MBA are interested taking a managerial role in an organisation. But, even for these people to say that mba is the only way for them to achive their goals and thus be called as being successful is not correct. This is because management is not taught but learnt. It can be learnt quite well by having a good work experince. If we take the case of US, a lot of people who are successful managers are not mba’s.

An mba can fast track your career by reducing the time to reach the managerial position, it can help people to switch in their line of career, it can give you the platform where you get to study with students having different backgrounds which can help in your personal and professional growth. but it is not necessary to be an mba in order to become successful in life


First of all thanks to all of my friends for giving their own idea about the topic…starting to my point of view we all have a manager inside us, we all manages something for definite reason in our daily life. But responsibility comes when a large scale of manpower and decision making process come towards us due to being a manager. From this point we do not need to be a manager having mba.people having specific and innovative idea can led a unit towards right direction with the diversity of surrounding specification which is indirectly proportioned to ‘MBA’.

ayushi gupta

‘NECESSARY’ , depending on the kind of curriculum one’s institute follows , we can talk about the kind of qualities it inculcates in you to become a manager in the first place. Sitting in havard school of business, and being a part of their weekly case discussions in a hall full of people from diffrent countries and diffrent fields of work ,can really give one better exposure than anything else . so NECESSARY or not comes from the kind of environment that an MBA program follows.This is why most institutes keep changing the patterns of course delivery in every year or two. IF IT TRIES TO BUILD STANDARD IDEALOGIES OR TRIES TO PUSH DIFFRENTIAL MANAGEMENT OUTLOOKS WITHIN STUDENTS.
SUCCESSFUL- as one sees it to be earning in particular digits, makes sense for him if he can do so by easily getting a campus placement . However, someone else sees it in building his own empire than ofcourse, like all other experiences of life, MBA definitely adds to your intelligence and management quotient but other factors also picture in.