Tips and Tricks about my MBA experience

Article :: "Why You Should Leave ‘M.B.A.’ Off Your Card"

Quite an interesting article about why people with an MBA should not state it

on their business cards…

Q: I am a recent M.B.A. graduate, but people like me in engineering and certain other nonbusiness fields are not usually perceived as possessing strong business, financial or managerial expertise. I would think that a low-key display of an M.B.A. degree on a business card could serve as a subtle reminder of a person’s capabilities. Would such a practice be viewed as petty braggadocio, or is it a reasonable way to display one’s credentials and achievements?

—Steven W. Jones, Champaign, Ill.

A: Listing M.B.A. credentials on a business card certainly isn’t common practice and may even be frowned upon. For one thing, the explosive growth of M.B.A. programs has made the degree less distinctive and noteworthy. It also doesn’t carry the same weight as, say, a medical, law or Ph.D. degree.

“I wouldn’t recommend it to our students,” says Joyce Rothenberg, director of the career management center at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management in Tennessee. “While an important professional degree, it is not like a certification or a license.”

No doubt, some recruiters and business associates would regard it as pretentious to put “M.B.A.” on your business card. Even worse, an M.B.A. designation on the card could send the wrong message. “When we see it, it signals to us that the person might not be running around in highly professional circles,” says Lisa Steele, a director at the Capstone Partnership, an executive-search firm in New York, and an M.B.A. graduate herself. “If you have a strong professional and academic track record, the M.B.A. will speak for itself — no reason to broadcast it to the world.”

While some recruiters say they wouldn’t find it offensive if an applicant added the letters M.B.A. to a business card, they still believe it could be overkill. “It would not be considered petty or bragging to include the M.B.A. qualification on a business card,” says Kristina Peters, a managing director and global head of graduate recruiting at Deutsche Bank. “However, it is also not necessarily required, as inclusion on a CV should be sufficient.”

Julia Zupko, senior associate director of career services at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, agrees that advertising an M.B.A. on a business card is unnecessary. “The business skills attained via an M.B.A. should be evident in one’s work or conversations,” she says.

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