Some names are prestigious enough to make aspiring business leaders stop and simply listen. For many people, former General Electric CEO Jack Welch is one of them, and lately, he has been making the rounds in the media to promote his new book, The Real-Life M.B.A.: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career (HarperBusiness, 2015), which he coauthored with his wife, Suzy. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Welch touched on the state of business schools today. Welch, who does not have an MBA himself but has taught at MIT Sloan in the past and founded an online executive MBA program in 2009, has seen quite a lot of the business world in his 79 years.
Welch believes that online MBA programs will eventually gain momentum. “Students are taking on this enormous debt,” he told the WSJ in reference to typical MBA programs. “It’s brutal. It’s got to change. And the internet—online education, in my view, is what’s going to change it.” When asked whether the next “iconic leader” will have an MBA background, Welch was unsure. “But he or she will be skilled at engaging his or her employees, and listening to his or customers,” he said. “[He or she will] understand that there’s no business without customers—only satisfied customers can provide job security.”