Why MBA?

I needed to answer two questions: why an MBA? And, why abroad? These remain important for any candidate.


Why MBA?

So, why did I do an MBA? When faced with this question, I put myself through the 'ART' test. The test asks three questions of a candidate considering doing an

MBA:

Do you want to Accelerate your career in the current industry?
Do you want to Rotate to a business/ corporate function within the current industry?
Do you want to Transform your skill-sets to change to another industry?

An affirmative answer to any one question is, superficially, sufficient reason to want to do an MBA. The important thing for me was to identify exactly where this career move was focused. I decided that A -- Acceleration resonated the most with me.

I was working with a group of bright, motivated individuals. My superiors provided me with learning opportunities now and then. However, I had reached an invisible hurdle beyond which growth demanded an additional set of skills, which I felt an MBA would address. Now that the toughest part was over, the next step was to elaborate and justify this answer with valid reasons.

It is completely acceptable for you to want to achieve more than one of the above objectives through an MBA. But a careful drilling-down into the story is critical.

Acceleration
This could be in terms of the number of steps of the hierarchy that the MBA will help you to jump and/ or the amount of money it will enable you to demand in the job market. It could also mean an accelerated career path, a fast track, which your organisation can provide you with by virtue of your MBA degree.

There could be environmental factors, such as a dynamic industry scenario or a downturn, that warrant different skills and techniques to successfully handle business realities. As a middle/ senior manager or as a businessperson, you may feel the need for an MBA to ensure that you maintain or increase the pace of growth of your business.

Rotation
You have made good progress on your career path, obtaining a promotion every year or two, handling greater responsibility with each, and drawing a larger pay packet at each level. However, the growth is unidirectional, with a greater volume of work supervised at each level, but no additional faculties being developed. You wish that you could gain a broader perspective of business and contribute in a wider spectrum.

What you really want is to have a cross-functional understanding of your industry and carry over the learnings from one role to another, thereby adding to your set of skills. The MBA will help to provide you with the tools and techniques to comprehend and assimilate nuances of the various aspects of running a business.

Transformation


There may be a better word for this route, but an MBA is based on the premise that you will use the learning in the programme to transfer the skills you developed in your career pre-MBA to the role and industry you move to post-MBA. Hence, what you want to achieve is a transformation of your skill-set, through a set of frameworks and techniques learned in the MBA, which will help you to contribute, to a new role, in a new organization, in a new industry.

You could well want to be your own boss, fan that entrepreneurial fire burning inside, but know that you will have enough of a business perspective to create a successful venture. You essentially want to change careers, without having to start at the bottom of the new ladder, and be taken seriously in the new role, based on your past work experience and the new skills developed through the MBA.

Another way of checking whether you have nailed the reasons is by asking yourself whether any other route will help you achieve the same results. For example, if you believe that you have sufficient experience of the marketing and project management areas but find yourself wanting when it comes to financial concepts, then you may want to consider a short-term course that provides you with basics in finance.

If, however, you want to be the finance whiz kid, then consider a Masters in Finance or a Chartered Financial Analyst programme. It is important to understand the level of specialisation you desire. An MBA is usually oriented towards general management, with some scope for specialisation. In my case, I was quite certain that I wanted skills that were tangible across functions and industries. No specialised course could have addressed that requirement.

Why am I emphasising the need for this reasoning so much? Because the Admissions Committees stress on it. The reason that Admissions Committees are extremely keen on understanding your motivation for pursuing an MBA is a significant investment in your development. They want to ensure that the candidates they recruit to the MBA class are mature professionals who have weighed the benefits of the MBA adequately before making the investment decision. Additionally, they want to be certain that when you graduate, you will have gained something tangible in line with your expectations, and, thus, will be a confident brand ambassador for the school.

The thought process that I went through in this stage of my MBA prep was tested several times during the phases leading up to the admissions -- when I decided which B-school to apply to, when I took my GMAT, when I wrote my essays (especially here!), when I was arranging for the funding, and when I appeared for my interviews (probably the deal-breaker). So it helped tremendously to have clarity in advance.

Author is Oxford Alumni
Reference: rediff, testfunda

1 comments:

Mirka Černá 24/9/12 6:50 AM  

Great informations, i would like to study MBA soon...

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