Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hmmmmmm -- are MBAs evil? What do evil MBAs do?

Chemjobber friend OA wants to know: "do you think going for an industrial PhD (or even a traditional PhD for comparison) would help an industrial career in longevity/advancement vs. sticking with the MS as the highest degree? I'm also recently toying with the idea of joining the dark side and getting a MBA based on seeing all the postings for "six sigma black belts" while trying to find another nonexistent bench job."

Gee, I dunno. I tend to see the MS degree as the most employable, but maybe others have a different opinion. As for the MBA stuff, I think that the age of the science/business degree may be coming to an end. (gut feeling, absolutely no evidence to back it up)

Readers, only you know. What do you think? Are chemistry/MBA types the spawn of the devil or just minor demons in the pit of hell?

P.S. Vote in the poll on this same question, while you're at it...


  1. I don't think. I just sit in depression after realizing that I cannot do the chemical research in the lab that I enjoyed so much in undergrad and grad school until I reach retirement. Or even in the next ten years. I can't do it as a professor and I'll be permanently laid off in industry at 45.

    Then I stare straight ahead with a dead glaze coming over my eyes, and sigh.

  2. Like any career related issue getting a MBA needs to be put in context of long-term objectives. If one wishes to go into Sales & Marketing (center circle of habes?) or other more non/weak-technical managerial areas having an MBA will probably give you a boost. In most technical areas MBAs are rarely of value and can't overcome the PhD prejudices. Unfortunately what I have observed is that MBA tends to learn "slogans and cliches" that "fool" some (mostly other MBAs or six sigma blackbelts) that they know something when typically very little worthwhile application.

    I think you are correct about the relative employability prospects of MSs (if wish to stay in the lab) however these days not sure any levels has strong opportunities and doubt will change for a long time, if ever.


  3. Hey, I AM a chemistry/MBA. To boot, I am an EHS Manager of 15 years. Guess that makes me all-around evil.

    I decided to get the MBA because the leaders in my company were looking for scientists who can run the business. My department manager, however, told me that MBAs are a dime a dozen and he has no use for them. But his bosses' boss thought differently. Look to the top of your company to find out what they value. Those are the qualifications that will give you a professional boost. Remember, the real audience you are playing to is not your immediate manager.

    What happened once I got the MBA in 2007? An instant promotion and a 34% pay raise, plus freedom from my unsupportive department boss. The MBA paid for itself in less than a year (though part was paid for by employer tuition benefits).

    There were no six sigma MBA ninjas waiting to ambush me and carry me off to the dojo. No cliche union-busting strategery or lean manufacturing blah-blah-blah. Instead, I got good, solid coursework in finance, management, organizational communications, and public relations.

  4. Anonymous EHS director:

    Are you willing to talk more about your MBA? If so, e-mail me at the address in the upper left hand corner...

  5. I left with an MS, and it was certainly the right decision. It is likely the best spot to be, employment wise. The career trajectory might be less than ideal, and you have to deal with some people always pissing down on you 'cause you don't have a magic PhD, but if you want to keep out of the unemployment line long term, it's the way to go. I still make WAY more than either of my (college educated) parents.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20