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MBA. Now What?

Now that I have those three letters attached to my name… what’s next?

I got home a couple of weeks ago from my one year MBA program in Shanghai, China. While most of my peers had been celebrating the spectacular feat of having completed a very comprehensive program, I in turn had been so anxious about the life after–The New Normal.

Other than the hard and soft skills you can pick up from any MBA school, I did pick up on some lessons based on my own unique experience:

  • An MBA opens a lot of doors… maybe even more than necessary. You won’t really know what you want to do until, or after you’ve completed it.
  • You get out of it what you put into it. Each experience is unique, even if you’re from the same school.
  • ‘With Distinction’ does not necessarily translate to a job.
  • Poets think that everything in the world can be described using a 2×2 matrix. Quants believe that everything in the world can be modeled using Excel.
  • Knowing all too well that you still don’t know everything after the program means you’re already ahead of the pack.

What then is the return for a program we’ve put a lot of money into? The anxiety for getting a job to pay off the student loan? The reverse culture shock from coming home? or the management of high expectations from the people who watch what we do?

I maybe a skeptic, but I believe the MBA should be worth more than that.

First, it is valuable because of the relationships and the experiences we share with the people who were part of it. Second, it is important for giving us the courage to think and communicate how certain problems can be solved and actually operationalize the execution. Then, it allows us to envision the beautiful cathedral from the bricks and rally our teams towards that common vision. Finally (and hopefully), it made us a better person than who we were before.

Wherever you may be in your MBA journey… just keep moving. No one said it was going to be easy, but in the end it will be worth your while.

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