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Does an EA need an MBA?

Well, it depends pretty much on if one means the education or the title. When it comes to the title, I doubt it. When it comes to the education, I am fully for it. I was asked via Twitter why, so here’s my answer.

So why is it so useful for EAs? It changes the perspective from “architecture” and “business-2-IT” alignment to what matters, and that’s business. One starts to understand differently simple statements such as “There are no IT projects, there are only business projects”. One focuses more on searching for the purpose, the mission, understanding the business model and how ALL parts of the organization and enterprise are contributing to creating and delivering value to customers, which markets there are, via which channels the get served, what the relationships are and to whom, which opportunities lie ahead. And IT is just very small bit of it. Important – for sure – yet as everything else indeed.

To me, lack of business understanding does not mean not understanding business requirements. It’s not understanding the purpose, the problem, the need of the customer. It’s nicely expressed in the quote below where it’s about the difference between the focus on the drill instead on the hole.

People don’t buy quarter-inch drills; they buy quarter-inch holes.

[Theodor Levitt]

I cannot stop wondering how many people and even executives seem not not understand business really. Could you believe that they can perceive e-commerce as “technology” company? Is an on-line bank a “technology” company? Is Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay and so on selling any technology?

In this regard I was influenced mainly by Josh Kaufman and his book Personal MBA, which I just cannot recommend high enough. Great book that does not give you guidance on how to run your business, it only gives you a framework for thinking about it. To me personally, the book didn’t teach me that much as it made me learn a lot. Which is in fact by far more useful. (Personal MBA is actually much more of a movement than just a book.)

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