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| 2 minutes read

Are MBA's worth it?

I came across an interesting article via Sifted which discusses why some investors will only back founders with MBAs and it got me thinking, is an MBA the golden ticket to success?

As someone with a Master's degree and a belief ‘every day is a school day’, MBA's have always appealed. Whilst the juggle of life, work and the cost of such degrees has always been off-putting, when I look at the founders I work with and the executive candidates I've placed over the past decade, many of them have indeed completed an MBA either through sponsorship, support through their own employer or through investing in themselves.

At Hyperion Executive Search, we work with innovative cleantech start-ups and scale-ups to hire senior, c-suite and board level executives. The sector is abuzz with innovation and ambition, with some founders viewing MBA's as a ‘Must-have’ whilst others seeing them rather as a ‘Nice-to-have’. 

Let's look at Elon Musk, the cleantech rockstar himself. He believes true leadership comes from "working your way up and doing useful things," not racking up debt for business school.

But on the other hand, referencing the article, venture capitalists like Mónica Aznar swear by the power of MBAs. They highlight the invaluable knowledge gained in areas like finance and accounting, alongside the incomparable network built with peers and alumni that is built up and serves for year as a lifeline for fundraising and scaling businesses globally.

So, what does this mean for the cleantech sector? The truth, at least in my opinion lies somewhere in the middle. An MBA can undoubtedly provide valuable skills and connections, but it shouldn't be the sole gateway to success. Cleantech needs diverse minds and approaches to tackle complex challenges and this doesn't always stem from those with an MBA under their belt. Many cleantech founders have gone on to do great things without even making it through high school let alone studying at business school.

Whilst hiring an MBA qualified candidate can bring a lot to the table, it shouldn't overshadow the drive, passion, and problem-solving abilities of an individual without. 

The cleantech sector thrives on disruption and innovation and it is time to approach hiring with the same spirit. The future of cleantech shouldn't simple be about the degrees we hold, but the impact we create together and if we begin to focus more on identifying and nurturing potential, rather than the educational stamp of approval we miss out on key talent.

Interested to hear your thoughts?

Some VCs are championing investment strategies where they exclusively back founders with an MBA qualification, while other entrepreneurs are launching schemes they say teach the same financial skills in a fraction of the time and the cost.


c-suite, candidates, careers, hiring, leadership, talent, cleantech, emobility, future mobility, climate tech