There’s a longstanding Silicon Valley stereotype that MBAs are risk-averse, entitled, and brainwashed into being boring, and are therefore not suited for the fast-paced technology world.
The idea of foregoing a formal education to pursue an entrepreneurial venture is furthered by tech leaders like billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who has a $100,000 fellowship for students who drop out of college to start a business.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have dropped out of Harvard as an undergraduate, but his COO Sheryl Sandberg followed a more traditional path.
She not only graduated from college but also received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She worked for a year as a McKinsey consultant and then spent time in the US Treasury before joining Google in 2001. Zuckerberg recruited her in 2008 to help him take his company to the next level.
In a recent Quora post, Sandberg weighed in on the MBA debate, saying that her b-school experience gave her a solid business foundation but that she and the rest of Facebook’s leadership think “degrees are always secondary to skills.”
“While I got great value from my experience, MBAs are not necessary at Facebook, and I don’t believe they are important for working in the tech industry,” she writes.
Read more of Sandberg’s insights at Quora.
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