MBA In Email Signatures

MBA after name image

So, putting MBA and other credentials in email signatures. I’ve searched Google and read many comment sections on blogs. I’ve watched a ridiculous amount of YouTube videos and read an equally ridiculous amount of comments under them. I’ve English-major-undergrad-style skimmed Reddit forms and Discord servers. The opinions are wild, allover, inconsistent.

I recently started putting MBA after my name in my email signature, mostly because I do a lot of different things and have quite a few email accounts and I prefer to just use the same signature for many of my email accounts:

Eric Shay Howard, MBA, CAPM (he/him)
MFA in Creative Writing student
phone number

I do this for many reasons. I don’t know if they’re good reasons, but they’re mine.

  • I send a lot of emails to people who work in business administration – office managers, project managers, educational administrators, etc. This communicates that I have “mastered” the concepts of business administration without me having to be like “by the way I know at least a little bit about what you’re dealing with because I also have an MBA” and stuff. We can totally have a conversation about management, leadership theory, Human Resources, diversity, equity and inclusion, operations management, project management, data driven decision making, and lots of other things. Phrases like “conscious capitalism” and “stakeholder communication plan” won’t scare me away. It’s my way of saying “look, we even shop at the same store!” We should be friends. Best friends.
  • I got my MBA and it was kind of hard at times and expensive so I’m telling everyone I send an email to that I have one. I know a million-fafillion other people have one. That’s fine. I have one too. I don’t want to have to tell everyone verbally that I have one because that would be even more weird, so I think it’s better to just put it in my email signature and let people see it there. It’s completely fine if they roll their eyes. That’s allowed. That’s not the point.
  • It’s a terminal degree so it makes sense that people put it in their email signatures after their names. I don’t understand why people are so afraid of bragging about their academic accomplishments. Sure, okay, it seems like you’re bragging a little too much, or desperate, or something. That’s allowed. I don’t mind bragging a little too much, or even appearing desperate. It’s okay. Really. Some things are worth bragging about. Or appearing desperate for.
  • I don’t edit the signature anymore based on who I’m sending the email to. Everyone gets the same signature. Enjoy.
  • I also put my CAPM certification in my signature because it was also hard and I had to study a lot for it and take classes and stuff. Now everyone I send an email to who knows project management stuff will know that I know how to talk to them about project management. If they don’t know anything about project management, it’s also totally fine. It’s not required, or whatever, when you read my emails to know about project management, or MBA stuff, or whatever. It’s just “extra” information. Like an easter-egg. It’s like if you know, you know.
  • I didn’t invent the professional convention of putting MBA and other certifications after our names in emails. Stop yelling at me. Lots of other people do it, too.
  • If I could put MFA after my name when I finish the MFA program, I would. (That’s not very common I don’t think so I can’t do that I guess? The MFA student bit is in my email signature for now because I am in a program and send emails to professors and stuff and I feel like it should be in there because if I care this much about having the MBA in there I guess I care this much about having the MFA in there. I’ll probably take it out when I graduate. Or, you know what? Maybe I won’t.)
  • I don’t know. Some industries and certain degrees like art programs just don’t do it very often. Others, like business administration, doctorates, and master’s degrees for counseling seem do it a lot. Or at least they used to until people starting writing blog posts about how people shouldn’t do it because it makes people look too desperate or something.)

Whenever someone asks me about why I put MBA after my name in my email signature, I’m going to refer them to this blog post. If you’ve been referred to this blog post after asking me the question, now you know. You might’ve meant it as a joke. Maybe I got the joke, maybe I didn’t. I suppose I could’ve just sent you here anyway. I’m sure it took you a lot longer to read this than just rolling your eyes over my signature and not saying anything. I’m sure you have an MBA from a top 30 university and you and your friends have all vowed to put an end to this MBA-email-signature nonsense. I hope you found your MBA at least a little worth it and don’t secretly absolutely hate having it.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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