Monday, October 02, 2006

Who should get an MBA?

October 2006 – Should you get a MBA is a question that I often hear debated within my group of young professional friends. My answer to this question can be broken down into two types of people, those who want to climb the proverbial corporate ladder and those that simply want to learn more about business.

Some folks, would like to continue their career progression by moving from individual contributor, to lead, to manager, to director, to senior director, to vice president, to senior vice president, to executive vice president, to senior executive vice president, to president, to chief officer, etcetera. Alright enough, you get my point. This is all fine and dandy and if one has these aspirations, you should quickly sign up for the biggest named business program within reason and get the sheep skin. With all those steps you need to differentiate yourself more than a sharp suite and years-and-years of brown nosing offer. As long as you get a grade that secures the tuition reimbursement, don’t be overly concerned with your studies. That’s not to say sleep through class, but fully understanding random variable probability won’t make or break your career path. In other words, slide through school with as little exertion and purpose needed.

Some other people simply would like to learn more about business and apply the MBA concepts learned to their current job, hobbies, and home finances. These people are getting the degree for a slightly different reason as they don’t care about corporate advancement but simply care about learning something new that could help them and their employer. If corporate advancement is presented and the opportunity fits the person’s goals, then so be it. If not, no big deal. These people have more of an interest in the subject mater, as climbing some ladder offers little incentive. The motivation is learning something new and trying to apply the new found knowledge to situations they’re in. For example, when studding statistics the second type of person might take the new found standard deviation calculation and try to apply it to defect data and show wheter the application is under statistical control. This is in comparison to the first person, who’s only exposure to implementing a business school concept is negotiating a promotion.

In conclusion, the curious mind recommends that if you’re interested in getting an MBA, make sure your motivation is modeled after the second person and not the first. An education’s primary purpose is to educate, not hand out paper used to get your next promotion.