I just realized that MBA is the second most talked about topic after economy among my friends and acquaintances. Maybe they want to know my little secret to justify this big ticket purchase since I recently finished my MBA. However, I think some people in my age group are hit by premature mid-career crisis. It is surprising how many of us are not satisfied with our jobs and looking for a dream career. Somehow MBA seems to be the route to the ultimate destination. Is it?
I was in the same boat a few years ago. Having spent years in technology development, I found myself fascinated with business and strategy. My tryst with entrepreneurship and a year in investment banking technology further strengthened my desire to acquire a formal business education. Simple logic: I learned engineering in a technology school, so I should acquire business acumen at a b-school! Of course nobody gets the corner office and a CXO title without business acumen. The business case was made and I enrolled in a part-time MBA program‑my ticket to the world where leaders are made and all questions are answered.
Business school was a unique experience with some harsh realizations. Unlike engineering education that made me a technical expert, MBA was not going to make me a business expert. It could provide me an air cover of marketing, finance and operations concepts but business acumen cannot be taught in a class. Many of my gifted classmates were disappointed to learn that a b-school won’t simply provide them a solution to “what is my dream career” puzzle. Moreover, the tough economy didn’t help much either. However, all was not lost. I believe MBA was the best thing that happened to me. If it didn’t try to make me an expert then I didn’t bother to acquire any pseudo specialization. Business acumen cannot be taught in a class but the tools to acquire it such as negotiation, power and politics, and communication skills were the front and center of my MBA curriculum. One can learn basic finance and marketing by reading books but learning business perspectives, case studies, and teamwork requires a dedicated and enriched b-school environment. It was a great experience to be back in school and learn in a hectic but relaxed environment. Above all, discussing life, career, economy and everything else over coffee with classmates – priceless [minus student loan].
Here is my little secret folks – Go for it!