Power Players

Elon Musk on the problem with corporate America: ‘Too many MBAs’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures as he arrives to visit the construction site of the future US electric car giant Tesla, on September 03, 2020 in Gruenheide near Berlin.
Odd Andersen | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the biggest problem with corporate America today is that too many business school graduates are running the show.

"I think that there might be too many MBAs running companies," Musk said Tuesday at the WSJ CEO Summit.

This "MBA-ization of America," isn't great, Musk said, especially when it comes to product innovation. Big corporate CEOs often get caught up in the numbers and lose sight of their mission, which is to create "awesome" products or services, according to Musk.

"There should be more focus on the product or service itself, less time on board meetings, less time on financials."

"A company has no value in itself. It only has value to the degree that is [an] effective allocator of resources to create business services that are of a greater value than the costs of the inputs," Musk said.

This thing they call "profit," Musk added, "should just mean over time that the value of the output is worth more than the inputs."

Musk said the biggest mistake he has made as a leader of both Tesla and SpaceX was spending too much time in meetings looking at PowerPoints and spreadsheets, instead of being out on the factory floor.

"When I go spend time on the factory floor or really using the cars or thinking about the rockets...that's where things have gone better," Musk said at the WSJ summit.

He finds that if he is engrossed in the details of the issues, it boosts morale and his team is "more energized."

Musk urged CEOs to "get out there on the goddamn front line and show them that you care, and that you're not just in some plush office somewhere."

Musk recently became the second richest person in the world as Tesla's stock price and market cap have grown over the last several months. He is currently worth an estimated $157 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.

Don't miss:

Brain coach used by Elon Musk's SpaceX: 3 tips to learn anything faster

You have 2 weeks left to earn the Amex Blue Cash Preferred's elevated $300 welcome bonus

How Apple gets you to spend money
How Apple gets you to spend money