Should MBA programs share blame for the adverse economic development?

[or looking at it differently, can future MBA programs protect us from the economic turmoil that we are now suffering?]

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The majority of my MBA was undertaken during booming economic times, however with a constant uncertainty hanging over our heads at that time: “What do global trade imbalances mean?”.

Now, in the midst of a global economic crisis numerous commentators are asking the question “Did MBA programs develop greedy managers, who put growth ahead of stability?”, or variants on this theme.  Global trade imbalances still exist (with no clearer insight into how these will be resolved), but discussion of these seems to be parked while we work our way out of the recession.

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A reflection on MBA programs – was it worth it?

It is now almost two years since I completed my MBA (Duke Goethe Executive MBA).  The program itself lasted 22 months and covered the usual standard courses (finance, marketing, strategy, operations, etc.) and certain optional ‘electives’ (in my case including electives addressing risk, entrepreneurship, private equity, and negotiations).

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I am often asked the question “Was it worth the investment?”  Usually this question refers to the direct cost of doing the MBA (the price paid to the University for the tuition).  There are however other investments made (eg, opportunity cost of time invested, and ancillary costs of accommodation, travel, etc.) that need also to be considered, but are usually covered by the same answers to the question.

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