Denny’s Daily Zinger: Why You Should Never Hire an MBA

Wall Street Journal graphic. (Source:

Occasionally in my 50-plus years in business, I have crossed swords with MBAs.
With few exceptions, I have found them to be jerks—full of themselves, woolly-brained and sated with book learning.

Anything they write—memos, letters, business plans or white papers—is filled with turgid prose, footnotes and sheer boredom.

Back in 2006, I was delighted to stumble across an story with the following headline:

Don’t Study Too Hard: MBA’s Fail at Marketing
Survey Finds Those With Degrees Underperform

According to A.C. Nielson, the performance of major corporations is inversely proportional to the number of MBAs they employ.

Put another way, the more MBAs a company has, the more the stockholders are screwed.

In early July, I stumbled across the following Wall Street Journal story:

Want to Get Into Business School? Write Less, Talk More
Some M.B.A. Programs Cut the Number of Required
Essays for Admission, Shift Emphasis to Interviews

It turns out business school faculty members—lazy and tenured—have come up with a scheme to shield themselves from the mediocre student writing.

After all, reading is hard work. Why learn long-form writing when—for business and pleasure these days—everyone relies on the 140-character tweet and the 160-character text?

Takeaways to Consider

  • “Whether you like it or not, life is one long sales pitch, and most of the selling is done in writing.” —Drayton Bird
  • “Good writing is easier to read than to skip.” —Arthur Brisbane

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Mark Pilipczuk writes, “Chock-full of proven techniques to improve your writing today. Denny Hatch’s prose is economical and packed with energy. Every word matters and the layout is designed to keep you reading and thinking.” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • mikewrite


    Couldn’t agree with you more. MBA attitudes and arrogance have been and still are a bane to my career.

  • John

    I believe that one of the reasons for relying more on interviews is to guard against the essays being written on the potential students behalf. I know from personal experience that this is done. And can be effective.


    Denny, I would respectfully disagree. It depends upon what school the candidate obtained their education from. I am a graduate of the USC Marshall School of business, and our MBA curriculum hammered “write right” into our thick skulls over and over again. Even the accounting professor graded us on our ability to compose cogent answers using the written word.
    MBA attitudes and arrogance are the result of ignorance and false pride. Those of us who have taken a few laps around the track should have that figured out by now. The smartest businessman I ever met had a golden rule: look to hire people over 50. His “reverse age discrimination” served him well. He had the most educated, loyal and hard working team I have ever encountered. Oh, and they could write well, too.

  • merrig

    I am a writer, editor, professor and marketing consultant an MBA in marketing and 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising. It appears to me the point being made is that some companies aren’t making the best use of MBA talent. That’s an organizational problem, not an educational deficit.

    I hypothesize, there is no inverse relationship between holding or hiring an MBA and one’s ability to write and don’t see a relationship between the two other than the indisputable fact that one cannot obtain an MBA without producing a substantial and well-written body of work during their course of study. But, only an MBA would know that.

  • George Vodin

    From the headline I thought “The Daily Zinger”, might be a new item on the menu. (smile)