1 year since the MBA

Are we where we expected to be? Perhaps we are where we are meant to be?

The value add of an MBA is declining but there are lots of people who still set out to get one for either a salary increase, a career pivot, a growth in network, learn business fundamentals or even just explore new possibilities. I am one of those people and I can say it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. But do my peers feel the same way? Here are the results of an informal survey taken by my classmates after a year since graduation:

The MBA sets students' expectations high that it helps pivot one’s career in a different direction but many respondents noted that changing careers does not happen quickly, it can take years. The MBA does a great job in showing us all the possibilities that we never knew were out there but it’s also an expensive program. 11% of individuals forewent their ideal job just for a paycheck. It’s one of the great dilemmas post-graduation, is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?

The MBA promises a growth in one’s professional network yet only 6% keep in touch with more than 16 individuals. Location plays a huge factor but also the way our generation communicates with each other. I am confident that if I reach out to a colleague I’ve lost touch with 3, 5, 10 years from now they will help a fellow alumni out. The shared experience of the program still carries weight.

The MBA can romanticize startups. Being your own boss and making your mark on society is alluring. However, once you get your hands dirty in entrepreneurship, you can quickly gain an appreciation for the 9 to 5 job. I know this was true for me. Since I started a corporate gig and left the startup world, I start my day with so much gratitude for the routine, for a supportive team, and for having a role that provides an equal sense of satisfaction as I would have in a startup.

What’s something you thought you knew but later found you were wrong about?

My favorite response,

we learn how to solve things differently when in fact it’s just common sense

Perhaps we paid a pretty penny to help us realize,

common sense is not so common

Voltaire is rolling in his grave telling us, ‘I told you so!’

For me personally, I developed a habit to question the “why” in our business decision making and created awareness on various business models. I also do love the feeling of understanding every time I read the Wall Street Journal and that was not always the case pre-MBA.

I am relieved to see 71% of respondents are applying their learning in their work and 85% of us are on the right track. 😅

There was a unanimous response that the year we spent together was indeed amazing, we all had a blast and we miss the people the most. It is hard to quantify the emotional aspects of the program and the changes in mindset that came along the way, it is easy to forget who we were 2 years ago.

To those who are not where they thought they would be and are unhappy about their circumstances I refer back to what I said last year, I firmly believe happiness and satisfaction, whatever that means to you, is not something we are entitled to, it is something we must work for. Do reach out to everyone, despite the geographical barriers we can still be a strong support system.

Consumer Product Manager at HomeAdvisor. Former startup founder, management consultant, and int’l development fellow. Lived, worked and studied on 4 continents.

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