It would be hard to argue that having and MBA from a well-respected graduate school is not helpful in a businessman’s climb up the corporate ladder, it seems such a degree is not always necessary.
One startling example is the head of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. He has consistently taken his company higher in the rankings of the famed Fortune 500, without hair nor hide of an MBA. With just a BA from Princeton Bezos founded and nurtured Amazon to the rank of 35 on the Forbes list, not to mention making Amazon a household name-brand.
Also lacking an MBA is the CEO of Plains GP Holdings, Greg L. Armstrong. The company owns and operates storage facilities for natural gas and manages other businesses. Armstrong has directed his company to the 70th position on the Forbes 500.
Amazingly it turns out that less than half of the CEOs at the top 100 companies on the Forbes list actually have MBAs.
“To actually get in the C-suite, it’s a little bit like winning the lottery. Especially for a Fortune 100 company,” says David G. Rohlander, author of The CEO Code: Create a Great Company and Inspire People to Greatness with Practical Advice from an Experienced Executive. “A pattern of successfully accomplishing your goals and an optimistic mindset are two of the most important traits for becoming a CEO,” he says.
Having an MBA might not guarantee a place at the head of a company, but it can certainly help an ambitious person to get ahead. Rohlander, who has an MBA in finance from California State University’s business school, says that earning an MBA is definitely “going to give you a better capability of thinking.”