Doing Good With An MBA
Traditionally, an MBA is the gateway to industries like finance, accounting, and consulting.
And it makes sense why MBA grads seek these fields. Almost half of the jobs in these industries, offer salaries of $125,000 or more according to a CNBC study.
Steven Lam thinks that notion is too simplistic. He is the co-founder and CEO of billion-dollar start-up GoGoVan, an on-demand van-hailing app which aims to solve logistical problems in big Asian cities. Recently, Lam made the argument that MBAs should be applying their skills outside of these traditional fields.
“There are a lot of things out there,” Lam tells CNBC. “You don’t need to be fixated on accounting or finance.”
Doing Something Meaningful
Lam says he was inspired to do something meaningful with his degree by a business ethics class he took as an MBA student at University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The class opened his eyes to the idea that an MBA could be used to solve society’s biggest issues.
“That was the first class and I remember it so well,” Lam tells CNBC. “So when I graduated I just wanted to do something meaningful.”
Lam says MBAs should be open to working for companies outside the traditional finance, accounting, and consulting firms.
“Around the world, there’s thousands and thousands of companies out there,” he tells CNBC. “The greatest ones are not accounting firms, financial firms or consulting firms. The greatest firms are called Fortune 500. Each of them sell different kinds of stuff, have different types of business.”
Solving The World’s Problems
In Lam’s case, he went on to build a multinational on-demand logistics platform that offers delivery services across Asia. Last year, his company became Hong Kong’s first unicorn, as a start-up valued at $1 billion, according to CNBC.
While an MBA has the option to work for a Fortune 500 company, Lam says, they should use their education to help solve the world’s problems.
“More than that, the world has thousands of problems – poverty, environment – things that need good people, smart students, to help to solve,” he tells CNBC.