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Do not hire MBAers!
I attended yesterday the conference “The antidote to the crisis: Development by Innovation and Entrepreneurship” in the National Hellenic Research Foundation, organized by AUEB's Department of Management Science & Technology.
First of all, I congratulate the DMST for this initiative and hope to see more similar in the future.
All the speeches were very interesting; innovative company examples were presented as a reply to the miserable environment we all experience currently. The presentation of our Alumnus Dimitris Tsigos was very interesting and very to-the-point as well.
What I was expecting and did not hear were some examples of current innovative solutions as a reply to the crisis. Well, we will probably see that in the future as history is currently being written… I would like to see though some innovations in management style, organizational changes, product differentiation, etc, during this tough period, especially when the funding by loan is practically inexistent.
The most surprising quote however, came from – not one but – two entrepreneurs that presented their companies to the audience which, in a big part, were current students.
“Do not hire MBAers!” if you are in the beginning of a start-up company. Well, yes, this is correct. Unless you are willing to work very hard without– for a short to medium period – getting paid for your work, you should not start a company anyway! So, in fact, first you make your business model work, then you raise funds (as Tsigos described) and then you ask employees (and managers) to work for you…
However, I disagree with the general opinion that was expressed by some speakers with reference to the MBA holders. Personally, I think that if your business model does not work, and you are not willing to listen and change, then no MBA can save you! You are lost! If the entrepreneur, while holding an MBA degree or not, is stubborn enough to believe that he’s the one having the solution to all problems and the answer to all questions, as often seen in entrepreneurship à la grecque, then he should not blame the employees or managers… And, believe me, engineers are great minds but do not necessarily make great entrepreneurs…
Dear fellow Alumni, what did your MBA degree give to you? Did you learn how to think in a simpler way and more essentially, by searching and prioritizing the important tasks? Did you have a closer look to almost all functions within an organization? Did you learn how to search (or even dig) for information, how to improve processes, how to focus on quality results, how to find solutions for your company and, all these by also developing your – so called – soft skills?
Well, probably I am not the kind of person that would start his own company (although you never know…) but I am 100% sure that an entrepreneur who would not like to concentrate himself all the company’s functions, would for sure need the support of managers that know what is essential.
This is why, my friends entrepreneurs, not only you should hire MBAers but you should also pay them good! Not to save you, but to support you. You need them. Even more in crisis periods.
Angelos Kastrisianakis (@angeloskas)
i-MBA Alumni President 2011-2012