What are the five most important lessons not learned in business school?

Prepwise AnswersCategory: General CareerWhat are the five most important lessons not learned in business school?
Career Dev Staff Staff asked 5 years ago
1 Answers
Kate McKeon Staff answered 5 years ago

Saw this: “Business is all about the originality of the good or service being offered”
Good lord. No.
Mother of ….
Look at the biggest and most successful businesses. They are most certainly NOT original. Business is NOT about ideas. It’s about iterations. We are all starting from somewhere. Engineers – capital E – design/build/ideate and yet the seed comes from something. Seeds are everywhere. The more learned you are across disciplines, the more naturally ideas come together.
Even the most lauded tech start ups are copycat companies. One big lesson that isn’t really covered in a meaningful way in MBA programs (because it’s not popular) is
Timing Matters.
Search engines existed long before google. Ad placements existed long before adwords, etc. So even things considered Bleeding Edge popularly were so far from revolutionary that anyone with any context would know better.
Ideas are iterative.
The challenge with timing is that you don’t control it. So, it’s less popular to discuss in MBA programs where we really build – or like to think we build – the next Masters of the Universe.
In brief, things MBA programs leave out:

  1. How to make difficult decisions – not everything can be reduced to algos and spreadsheets (though we try!).
  2. Timing – market isn’t ready. You flop. Distribution channel dies – you flop. Etc. Some you can overcome (build your own channel, find a new one), but the cost benefit may not support that move. Timing is not an excuse for failure but a reality to respect. Share holders do not want to hear that.
  3. Tolerance for ambiguity. OMFG my students need this beat into them with 2x4s. sigh. You cannot control everything. You need to figure out internally and externally (emotional and professionally) how to roll with the punches. The closest MBA programs come to this = risk tolerance. Eh. Kinda, but that’s really only one small piece. Bonus points if you can get through the stages of ambiguity:

observe and ignore → suffer through → tolerate → embrace → explore
If you can comfortably explore ambiguity around you you probably have high intellect and interesting friends.
Good luck!