November 13, 2007, 7:00 am

MBA Grades Are Meaningless

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career,MBA
email this postEmail This Post Print This PostPrint This Post Post a CommentPost a Comment

waste of time I know, it may not make sense going to school without thinking about your grades. Unfortunately, it is the very truth. I’ve been working hard for my marks so far and I always try to improve myself at any levels. As you can see, I am a highly competitive person. While doing my bachelor, I used to consider grades as a measure of my performance. This could not be further from the truth in the case of a MBA. I realized that last week when we received our first marks.
The result does not matterYep, you read it right, the official result of your labour; your presentation, your assignments or any other projects are not part of the main purpose of the MBA. I realized that when I noticed that most people who presented so far (no matter if they were amazing, good or okay) received about the same mark. It was within B+ and A. It shows that the teacher cares more about the effort you put in the presentation than the actual results. As a matter of fact, the qualify of the presentations were not equally distributed but their marks were.

What really matters

As I mentioned previously, as long as you are able to prove that you made a decent effort producing your reports, you will end-up with a good grade. However, after having lunch with my team mates (who have much longer work experience than I do), I understood that you are not getting much from an A or an A+. What really matters is what you have learned while you were doing your researches and writing your assignments. The good old bachelors habit to write what the teacher wants to read in order to get good results are no longer valid.

Do it for yourself

As one of my colleagues says: “I don’t care about my marks, what I do care about is how I can use what I learn in my life and at work”. While doing your researches, you will become in a better position to assess the previous success and failure of many companies and individuals. I believe that we can learn so much things by looking at what others have done in the past. As I previously mentioned in my last MBA posts, I just got access to 315 years of experience in my class. This is in addition to all the theories and concepts that I am learning in class.

From now on, I will change my approach to the MBA and I will try to learn as much as possible from my readings and my conversations with my peers. I know that if I work hard enough to assimilate others’ experience and the teacher’s theory, I will definitely end-up with good marks. However, this time, I will really learn something. After all, who cares if you had a MBA with honours or not, it is still showing on your business card πŸ˜‰

If you liked this article, you might want to sign up for my FULL RSS FEED. Then, you would get my daily post in your email and can read it at any time. To subscribe, please click HERE.

You Want More? Sign-up! ->
TFB VIP Newsletter

If you liked this articles, you might want to sign for my FULL RSS FEEDS. If you prefer to receive the posts in your email, subscribe CLICK HERE


I took an MBA. You know why the grades are meaningless? Because the MBA school cannot have flunkies in their $40K MBA class. Therefore, while in undergrad and high school you may have had a distribution of A – F with C being a pass, you will now have a distribution of A-C, and you can consider “B” as a pass. If B+ was the lowest mark in your

You would hope that MBA school is for the elite business prodigies, but truth be told, in most schools as long as they can pay the average student will get it. Hopefully they filter out the dumbest people, but people who would have gotten Cs in undergrad do get in, and they magically start getting Bs in MBA.

Having gone to professional school, I do agree with the above comment; the school I went to marked on a bell curve so you basically got a B just by showing up.

Having said that, to quote my Dad, a MBA is a very high priced networking group. You go to make good contacts with like-minded people.

I considered starting an MBA part-time myself. My company will pay for it 100% as long as I get a B or better. As an engineer that went by the motto “D is for Degree” ;), I thought it might not be the best idea. As it turns out, my former classmates that went by the same motto are scoring straight A’s in their MBA courses!

I would add that a lot of American schools grade in the same manner, even at the undergrad level. C’s are not common, D is an embarrassment. In my undergrad experience, C- was truly “average”.

I wonder, are grades and cost of program highly related?

by: The Financial Blogger | November 13th, 2007 (2:45 pm)

I really feel that you are paying for your grades. I agree with your dad TMW, it’s an expensive network !

However, my employer is paying for it, so it’s a free-get-a-job-for-life network that I am having πŸ˜€

And I used to think that an MBA actually meant something.

I guess you learn something everyday.


by: The Financial Blogger | November 14th, 2007 (12:19 am)

MBA means Master in Business Administration πŸ˜‰

Seriously, the grade system is very poor but what you learn there is priceless. However, if you can get 30-40 manager in one room and talk to them on a regular basis, you would get most of what the MBA can give you.

MBA is as meaningful as any other degree. There are those who think and MBA is more than it is, much like people who think that an engineering degree makes someone a great manager, or an accounting designation allows someone to make good decisions. The individual is what matters and some people (me, and Financial Blogger too!) take away a lot, while others just become arrogant πŸ™‚

I also disagree that just getting 40 managers in a room together is as good unless they’re not your classmates. Your classmates are going to MBA school to learn too. Hopefully you wouldn’t waste your time on the assignments and discussions with the prof unless it was of value.

by: The Financial Blogger | November 16th, 2007 (7:48 am)

CR, unfortunately, you still have to waste some time on assignments (you can’t write 25 pages without spending some time on it πŸ˜‰ ).

However, I have learned stuff from some (not all of them!) assignments. I am happy with what I have learned so far. I’m just surprised to find out how the MBA really works!

The inflation of credentials is a major concern for many degree programs. North America seems to have this disease quite bad. Every University wants to have the smartest and most talented students so staff are indirectly pressured to raise marks. GPA’s are going up everywhere.

The question is: does this practice eventually this lead to a paper degree (currency) that is worth less?

[…] middle of my second semester which seems to be as challenging as the first one. While I wrote that MBA grades do not matter, I was happy to be above the average of the class (the average for the 3 classes was B+). The grade […]

Funny enough … MBA marks do matter, but only if you want to be picked up by top banks or financial institutions. Otherwise, an A is the same as a B. But this applies to most degrees these days; if you complete engineering with honours or not does not matter … I got honours but not a single person senior to me at work even got close. So if you are motivated to perform well in your MBA … be the best, otherwise go out and enjoy your life while you take on an MBA.

[…] care of I work on TFB while I’m having breakfast and I read emails sent overnight by my other MBA colleagues. Then I got to go in order to catch up my bus at […]

I went to a 2nd tier MBA program. They filtered out people who couldn’t make the grade before the program started, I suppose. But they did have a curve with a 3.3 or 3.6 in the middle. There were some C’s. I suppose if someone didn’t put forth decent effort, or just didn’t know the material, he could get a C. I didn’t know excel or statistics, I think i got a C plus in data analysis, which relied on both skill sets. that guy had some real grades. That was my lowest grade since trig in high school.

But the quality of education was good. everyone was smart, and I think everyone put in an effort that was worth a C.

Down the road, no one is going to ask to see your transcript unless you are going into some kind of program fresh out of the MBA or a PhD program.

I don’t know what kind of MBA programs some of you are talking about but you can not simply just show up and get good grades at all. Every program that I have seen will require you to learn fairly advanced statistical analysis skills and have a good understanding of complex subjects such as managerial economics or financial theory. Of course a concentration in management is just a lot of theory, but other subjects are not as simple as people here make them sound. My experience is that material is emphasized over grades…but if you don’t know that material you don’t just get good grades for showing up. Most of you make no sense.

MBA, Wisconsin

kudos to you all, MBA program is just to lunch an individual to their global world,Grade is meanless but what u gain in the course of the program matters . Also, all the MBA students are expected to be an enterprenuer after complection of their program either small, medium or large scale level
Wish all sucess in their career.

Very interesting posts and comments. I’ll weigh in with my two cents. First of all, I also disagree that MBA programs are a walk in the park. I’m in the last semester of my MBA program at a non-ranked, AACSB accredited, public university. Showing up to class by itself doesn’t cut it. Trust me. I’ve seen plenty of my peers try; commence to whine about the difficulty of the coursework; and then drop out. Also, most graduate programs, not just MBA programs, require a 3.0 GPA to graduate — and in my program, if you earn more than two C grades, you are automatically dismissed.

With that being said, the qualitative courses in MBA programs focuses on a lot of subjective grading. For example, my specialization was Marketing…and I only had two professors teach all of my marketing courses. The one professor focused on research, data, and presentation. So much so, she was very strict in regards to number of pages of papers as well as number of sources. In my opinion, this didn’t contribute to overall quality. It just forced us to do a minimum amount of work. The other professor had a big emphasis on global marketing and I learned early on that if you focused your project on an international slant, you got an A as opposed to a B. This is hardly applicable to all industries…but it is what she liked and it is what it took to get the top grade.

Quantitative courses did rely a lot more on measurable competency in a subject. In most cases, I found the homework and tests to be a challenge (since I’m not a numbers person). However just about all of these courses had “grade savers” such as individual or group projects. Additionally a curve would be applied in that many of these professors realize that you are not striving to become professional statisticians or financial analysts (at least not in the core courses).

Looking back at my performance in the program, yes, I wish I could have earned more As instead of Bs. However, I also worked full-time and changed jobs twice since starting my degree program. I do feel that I’ve learned more via my work experience then in my MBA program. However having the degree just helps to reinforce my competency to people looking at my resume. It’s funny how it works out that way; but in my experience it has seemed to be true.