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Are MBA degrees a waste of money in the tech space?

An Aussie start-up is taking on the traditional MBA.

    With the price of an MBA costing up to $50,000 in Australia, just how useful is the extra education compared to practical experience?

    A group of successful Aussie startups, including online design tool Canva, think the latter is more beneficial, and they’re backing a new fellowship where executives are taught on the job, rather than in the classroom.

    Startmate is a program that provides mentorship and fellowships to anyone looking to take the plunge into the tech start-up landscape.

    CEO James Tynan told Your Money Live that traditional MBAs might work in some fields, but they’re not up to scratch when it comes to the fast-paced world of tech.

    “The skills that you want to acquire are being developed at the cutting edge of those businesses, so by the time they’ve hit a classroom, it’s out of date,” Tynen said.

    “So, you really need to be working inside the startups themselves to gain those skills.”

    The theory has some basis in history. Two of the most successful tech entrepreneurs in history, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, famously quit university to build their businesses.

    But Australia is also faced with a shortage of employees that understand the start-up space, with around one-third of start-up employees hired from overseas.

    The company is also aiming to fill the country’s growing talent gap.

    “I think it’s just where we are in terms of our level of maturity in the technology industry,” Tynen explained.

    He said in Silicon Valley, major tech firms do the work of training up legions of new technology specialists that the schools don’t yet cover.

    “In Australia, we haven’t had that yet. We’ve only got our first crop.”

    Watch the full interview in the video above.

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