June 4, 2019

MBA risk and Rewards: Serious concerns resolved

“How RISKY is an MBA Degree for my profile?” 

I have been getting this question a lot from people with 5 to 12 years of work experience, and I want to address this on this forum as you may have similar concerns. 

I ask a lot of senior MBA applicants: “Do you have a gamut of industries you want to explore or any awareness of current handicaps?” 

Many MBA applicants respond:  “ I do not know, and am open to everything. I just want to move out of this current role, have more senior positions open up for me, and maybe earn more money. Now, TELL ME if an MBA degree is a risky proposition for me?” 

My suggestions for this group: With 12 years of work experience, if you do not have a great idea of what you want from an MBA degree, it can actually be a very expensive risk for you. If you are in this situation, maybe you do not need an MBA degree to move forward in your life. 

Definition of Risk: Stepping into uncertainty with a partial understanding of what you want from your future. 

For people with more than 8 Years of work experience: I can help you a lot with employability, and your ENTIRE COMMUNICATION Strategy, but I want you to have a POINT TO START FROM. If someone with 12 years of work experience says- “I HAVE NO IDEA what I want in my life remotely and WANT TO GO TO IMD Business School OR London Business School OR INSEAD– please tell me is it RISKY to Go TO INSEAD? “  – it becomes a very challenging conversation. 

I understand that a two-year MBA program is relatively easier for people with 3 to 7/8 years of work experience, and your options tend to go down as the work experience increases beyond that. However, if you have more than a decade of experience, I or any business school cannot afford to have you doubt yourself so much as to make them feel that they have to be magicians to transform your life. 

Let me say this in another way- If you have more than 10 years of work experience, you have got to convince the one-year MBA programs about your employability, about your past handicaps and your motivations of pursuing MBA program. They have to understand that – your Past + MBA = Short-term and Long-term goals is a well-defined equation that you have a good grip of where an MBA degree fits into the path you are choosing. Business schools have more expectations from MBA applicants with more number of years of work experience.

I also acknowledge that people with more than 10 years of work experience have families, kids, and other loans, and are keen on optimizing their financial situation. And I am with you on that. You just got to pick yourself up, be aggressive in your research and find means to make your career happen. If you are deciding to get into a business school, you are keen on leading larger P&L’s or working for strategic projects in top consulting firms or are keen on being with Tech giants in products, and marketing related roles – You are someone who wants to get out of the existing job and meet a certain future. Well, in order to do that, you got to start shopping. Shopping starts with research, with a thorough understanding of where you will be, and objective analysis of – HOW AN MBA DEGREE is placed between your present and your future. Open the black box slowly and slowly- to start seeing all these things. 

Do not ask- IS IT Risky? You can mitigate risk by removing the layers of research gaps, and getting there. This is what the game is about.

As I mentioned earlier: 

Definition of Risk: Stepping into uncertainty with a partial understanding of what you want from your future. 

You can work on that uncertainty ahead of time, and make that Partial understanding more COMPLETE. That is the only way to minimise risk. 

Hope that helps.

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