One of my closest friends recently quit a really good job at a multilateral financial institution to do an MBA at London Business School. He is a really ambitious guy, so just collecting a fat pay cheque, international travel and managing huge deals was not enough for him. I admire his courage, because he has done similar things which turned out alright. Like me, he has a professional accounting qualification. However, his work experience is largely consulting and auditing while mine is investment banking and business management. He chose to do the MBA because it is an internationally respected qualification. He also chose LBS because it is one of the more prestigious business schools. In my country and in our industry, the pedigree of one's alma mater counts. Thus, you have people always studying more and more to remain competitive. At one time, it was enough to have just a first degree. Then people began doing Masters degrees. Then they began to add professional qualifications like ACCA & CFA. I know someone who has 6 qualifications, excluding the first degree.

I have never wanted to do an MBA for 3 reasons. While, I have a degree in business administration, I have a slight inferiority complex for having studied it. It has a reputation here of being a course for lazy people. Also, it is rather generalist, unlike economics which is a discipline in its own right or accounting which is a technical course. Thus, I do not think the nature of a generalist course warrants further study except if the student wants to specialize in one of its aspects - say finance. The second reason for not wanting to study an MBA is that as an undergraduate, I used to help older MBA students with their coursework. It did not seem different from what I was studying then. Thus, it did not make sense to me, to pay money to study what I already know. The last reason is a lecturer who had an MBA. He was really proud of it and always mentioned it at any opportunity. If an MBA was a spectacular qualification, it did not show either in his manner of teaching or in relating with people outside class. The course he taught was business psychology, which should have been interesting, but he made it boring. I did not like the way he taught the course. I also disliked him because he was a bit of a bully. He once mocked a girl in class for coming late; saying that were she smart or beautiful, he could excuse her behavior. I am proud that I stood up for her and told him that was wrong. To his credit, he later apologized. But I still think he was a lousy lecturer and a poor advertisement for MBAs.

Regardless of the above, an MBA is brandished with pride and sometimes respected in Nigeria. I sometimes entertain notions of doing an MSc in Economics or Finance. But I am too undisciplined. Further, if education is for self-improvement, then public recognition of one's qualifications are unnecessary. I privately boast to myself that I am more knowledgeable than many of the more qualified people that I interact with because I read more widely and more voraciously than many people of my acquaintance. Many people only read our poor quality newspapers. While I admire people with many qualifications, rarely have I been impressed with the quality of their thought or their education. Our president between 2011 & 2015 had a PhD. However, he is probably the first or second most inept ruler we have ever had. The man never said anything indicative of intellectual capacity. There are many of his sort in the country. I think they cheapen their qualifications.

I think my friend will do well though. He is intelligent and determined. I actually envy him his focus and determination. I do not think he envies me anything. I think he is smarter than me. He is also stronger than me because when we go running, he can run faster, for longer. When we lift weights, he can lift heavier, for more reps.

In any case, I think there are other ways to learn than returning to school. Further, while many people study more and more in order to remain competitive and get a higher paycheck, I do not need to do that. I have the luxury of reading for pleasure and whatever I learn is just a happy extra.

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