Warren Buffett on the Importance of an MBA

In 2001, Warren Buffett was interviewed by the University of Nebraska Business Magazine with regards to his views on the importance of earning an MBA nowadays. His comments provide a wide view on knowledge, learning and, in his view, the correct attitude that we should have toward learning.

"If you are interested in business, or likely to be in business, an MBA is very useful. But, what is really important is what you bring to a class in terms of being interested in the subject. If you view a course like accounting as a drudge and a requirement, you are missing the whole game. Any course can be exciting. Mastering accounting is like mastering a new language, it can be so much fun. The attitude should be one of discovery, that you are coming there and discovering. Accounting is the Rosetta Stone of business. Economics is fascinating, the first page of economics describes how mankind deals with insatiable wants and creates the systems to fulfill these wants. It's great stuff. Really how the world works. Business is a subsection, a fairly understandable subsection, not like black holes, which are fairly hard to visualize, but business is everyday stuff and you are learning how the world works. You are 18-19 years old and learning about the world, understanding how this great world works. The GDP per capita in the 20th century increased 6 to 1. Think of that, six times. Why does that work here in the U.S., why doesn't it work other places? The U.S. is a small part of the universe, but a very important part and understanding that and seeing everything else against that backdrop for the rest of your life is fabulous."

My favorite points from Buffett's comments are the following:

The attitude should be one of discovery: Buffett is right in that the main point of paying a great deal of money to enter a business school is to learn. This implies that the correct attitude toward learning is being willing to discover all aspects of a curriculum with a good attitude, and not just as part of a checklist to earn credits. For example, many of us consider accounting to be boring and hard to understand. Once we master the language of business, however, we have both a great advantage over our competition and a better understanding that can be translated into better insights and value discoveries. Charlie Munger would argue that one does not have to go into business school and pay to start an interaction with the best minds of the world in each subject, which means reading their works. My personal take is that the price we pay for an MBA is mostly for the human component: the networking available and some of the teachers providing their insights. So overall, I agree a bit more with Munger, but I would not say that an MBA has no value, it certainly does...
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