Should you include MBA on your business card?

So you’re about to get a stack of business cards printed but you’re on the horns of a dilemma – should you add ‘MBA’ as a suffix to your name on your visiting card?

Surely, two gruelling years at B School and the many thousands of dollars you spent to get that degree have earned you the right to flaunt those three little letters, right?

Here’s the short answer. For those who have spent hours wondering whether or not to use the ‘MBA’ suffix, or worse still, for those who have used it without a moment’s deliberation, we have just two little words – not cool!

Trumpeting those credentials – wait, can you even call it that? – will probably earn you ridicule and have you labelled as ‘pretentious’ and ‘insecure’.

If you can’t deal with the disappointment of being shot down, well, there are counter arguments too. So let’s get right to it, examine the pros and cons, and see just why the dice is heavily loaded against using ‘MBA’ on your business card.
 

‘Yay’ Sayers

– Some believe the ‘MBA’ suffix acts as a differentiator or an introduction to your level of education and motivation at work.

In times of fragile attention spans and getting noticed amid the clutter of competing information, this differentiator gives people the opportunity to see, in an instant, that you have an MBA degree, without them having to study your profile or resume.

Among the ‘people’ to whom this may make a difference are prospective employers, colleagues, other peers in the industry as well as clients and customers. It’s all about putting it out there. Being subtle is dead, times have changed. Get with it!

– Using the suffix tells prospective employers and recruiters that you have management ambitions, and it could roll the dice in your favour when scouting for better job prospects.

So, let’s say you gave your business card to someone who could introduce or recommend you to a firm that was looking out for someone with your career profile. If your visiting card said ‘MBA’, wouldn’t it raise your chances of landing the position?

It would tell them, right off the bat, that you are manager material, or better still, leadership material.

– Apart from revealing your ambitions, an ‘MBA’ suffix means you are capable of running a business or a company. It suggests that you have a solid foundation in business and a handle on the world of finance, commerce and management – no mean feat.

Advertising this could impress people at large, which could favourably dispose them towards you in professional as well as social situations.

 

‘Nay’ Sayers

Now if you want to know what the ‘nay’ sayers think, first wait for the sniggering and scoffing to die down. They believe that no argument is convincing enough unless you want to appear pretentious, bombastic, tasteless…get the drift?

But some would argue that that tom-tomming an MBA degree for professionals in ‘non-business’ career tracks is a must.

While a professional management degree is typically synonymous with careers in finance, marketing and even information technology, it is not usually associated with career tracks like engineering.

Hence, having the suffix on an engineer’s business card is a gentle reminder of their capabilities.

Recruiters and HR consultants, who should know better than the rest of us, are unmoved. They point out that nothing speaks louder than the confidence that comes with a solid academic and professional record.

Simply put, if you are an achiever and you have the capabilities to back that ambition, there is no reason to broadcast it on your business card. Actions speak louder than those three little letters do.

The ‘nay’ sayers also point out that those who feel the need to scream ‘MBA’ probably didn’t attend a top-notch B School. Yes, your B School matters more than the actual degree. And if you did attend the right B School but are insecure enough to still hang on to the ‘MBA’ tag, consider getting some therapy.

If you’re going for subtle, here’s another reason you want to leave ‘MBA’ off your business card. A ‘Masters in Business Administration’ does not give you a licence to practise anything, as does an MD or LLB degree, earned by doctors and lawyers.

Neither is it a certification sought by, say, a ‘CA’ (Chartered Accountant) or ‘CPA’ (‘Certified Public Accountant’). Nor does it carry the same academic weight as does a PhD degree.

The ‘nay’ sayers also point out that with the virtual explosion of MBA programs, including online degrees and those handed out by night schools, an ‘MBA’ no longer carries the ‘respect’ it once did.

So, if you’re still on the horns of a dilemma, we’ll say it one more time – it’s a ‘yes’ to including ‘MBA’ in your resume or LinkedIn profile (in the qualifications section where it rightly belongs!); a ‘no’ to your business card; and a ‘what were you thinking?’ to adding it to your email signature.

Finally, if you come across those who describe themselves as ‘an MBA’, you may realise that many of them are precisely those who shouldn’t advertise it at all!
 


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

9 Comments

  1. Utkarsh says:

    Hi,

    I have completed my Masters in Statistics with average marks and have 2 years experience in General Insurance Company. I am preparing for GRE. I am little confused about course that what should i opt like MS/MBA/M.Phil/ Phd in any University of USA and how to get full scholarship. Will you please help me out to get away from these confusions.

  2. JAGADEESH says:

    Hi,

    I am MBA Finance Graduate and I have 2 years of Work Experience as SAP FICO Consultant. Now I want do MS. Which is the suggestible Branch/Group in MS. Thank you

  3. Lokesh says:

    Hi,
    I just completed my college with a degree in Mech. Engg. I’m interested in automobile designing sector. An acquaintance told me that i should better prepare for gre.
    It would be very helpful of u if u give me some advice regarding how i should prepare. And just to tell u I’m not so good at studies and completed my B.E. from an state university college.

    • Dinuka Perera says:

      I really don’t have an idea of how it applies to those who have done their MBA by specialising a stream.
      Ex – Finance / Marketing / project management.

  4. Sherry Rakkar says:

    Hi,

    Greetings,

    I have an average percentage in my B.Tech degree i.e. 73%. Does it really affect my chances hard? Or what other factors that can help me to be enrolled in top notch universities in USA like MIT? And is it really possible or not?

  5. Karan says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am currently in b-tech 4th year and have been placed at a package of 25 lac and i have also got a good score(322) in GRE.
    i am sure to stay in cs field so should i go for a masters in a good us university or opt for the job ?

  6. Rahul patel says:

    I am in 4th year of electrical engineering. I got placed in infosys through campus placement drive . I want to pursue ms in cs and then settle in USA. Would it be difficult for me to find a job there or should I take experience from infosys and then apply for ms?

  7. SaiRam says:

    Hi sir,

    Am a 2015 B.Tech graduate from one of the reputed colleges in Tamil Nadu. My major is Information Technology. Do we have any branches in MS degree related to drawing or sketching for game development, so that I could pursue my own interest as am good in sketching.Further, I need to know the top universities for such courses and the scope for pursuing that course. It may sound kind of childish, but i don’t know what to do after completing a degree in IT. Could you please help me out, as i dont want to get into coding stuffs.

    Regards,

  8. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Utkarsh: You are throwing the net too wide. Each of those degrees has a special focus and career direction. Spend some time figuring out where you want to take you career and then decide in the degree or experience to get there.

    @Jagadeesh: You haven’t shared if you are a technical or functional consultant. Assuming it’s the former, any computer science related stream should be good.

    @Lokesh: If you aren’t good at studies, you may be embarking on the wrong path. Don’t just rely on what your acquaintance told you. Do your own research first about what you can expect in an intense Masters degree. Without the capability and the commitment, you’ll stumble.

    @Sherry: There are many other factors apart from your graduation percentage that the Admissions team will look at. There’s nothing you can do about the grades now. So focus on the rest.

    @Karan: That’s a fantastic salary for a fresher! I’d suggest staying back and getting some good experience before going abroad for further studies.

    @Rahul: See the previous response to Karan.

    @Sairam: I’m sure there might be, but I am not aware of any such niche courses.

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