Really? These 8 TED Talks Are Nearly As Good as an MBA?

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Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

I’ve been receiving quite a few articles from in my news feed lately. Ladders bills itself as the “#1 Site for 100K+ Jobs.” Their articles are often useful and insightful. Their titles, however, strike me as a bit inflated, compiled from stockpiles of hyperbole. Take this one, for example.

8 TED Talks that basically equal an MBA

You folks don’t expect us to swallow that, do you? The TED Talk topics and themes they assembled are as follows:

1. Grit: Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth
2. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
3. Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are by Amy Cuddy
4. Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders by Sheryl Sandberg
5. The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink
6. The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Anchor
7. The Power of Believing that You Can Improve by Carol Dweck
8. 8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John

I am not suggesting that these aren’t useful talks. For some folks some of these may even be life-changing. But do they add up to an MBA? Do they even come close?


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Illustration by the author.

If you Google it, you will find this article, for example: What an MBA Degree Is and What You Need to Know . The author states, “An MBA is ideal for people who want to gain business skills and accelerate their careers.”

The curriculum for an MBA student will usually include courses in accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, economics, management and business ethics. Do you see these items listed in the 8 TED Talks promoted above by Ladders?

As a general business degree, there is a set of core coursework that you must complete to build a foundation for the remainder of your business school education.

What Kind of Coursework Should I Expect in an MBA program?

Accounting, Business Strategy, Marketing Management, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, Operations Management, Statistics, Production, Information Systems, and more.*

If you have taken these courses in undergraduate school, the MBA versions will teach the study from a different perspective. While some of the theories and technical information may line up, it is more likely that the real-world approach will be taken by MBA professors.


I’m certain that these TED Talks are all very good. They were curated by Ladders with the aim of helping you in your career. I wish, however, that they would be more realistic in their promises. “As good as getting an MBA?” Who are we kidding. If that were the case, why fork over the dough to get that MBA in the first place?

If you want to check out the TED Talks recommended in this Ladders piece, you can find them here.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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