“Why do you want an MBA?”
If you ever decide to apply to business school, you have to answer this question a lot of times: on your application, in your admission interviews, and in conversations with friends and family members. In my case this question was asked more times than usual because I already have a masters degree.
Looking back, I realize that my answer to the MBA question varied based on who was asking. I don’t know if that was being inauthentic but that’s just the way it was.
If I were to distill my reasons for wanting an MBA, it’ll come down to these things:
1. Curiosity About Business: In the final year of my undergraduate degree, I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Although I now disagree with some of its ideas, that book sparked a thirst for business knowledge which has refused to be extinguished. Till date, I love learning about different companies (especially technology companies): how they succeeded where others failed, and how they failed after having succeeded for so long. It is absolutely true that the best way to learn how to run a business is by actually running one. However, when it comes to learning about the frameworks that underpin today’s global businesses, nothing comes close to the MBA experience.
2. Credibility of a Top-Tier MBA: This is the reason that a lot of admissions officers don’t want to hear a lot about :). Be that as it may, I really wanted that ‘stamp’ from a respected institution that opens doors and gives me the benefit of doubt in the global business environment. Does this mean that these doors are closed to those without top-tier MBAs? In a lot of cases, no. Is this stamp needed in my situation? Most definitely.
3. Career Transition: Before business school. I had already transitioned from marketing communications into a career in technology. Notwithstanding, after studying Management Information Systems for 2 years and working as a developer for another 2 years, I felt I was ready to take my technical skills and move ‘closer to the business’. To achieve this goal, I had 2 options: keep working on the technical side until a suitable job opportunity opened up, or go to business school and make the transition on my own terms. Needless to say, I chose option 2.
Whatever your reason for wanting an MBA may be, here’s a simple sanity-check process that I will recommend:
1. Does your reason make sense to you?
2. Does it make sense to the people you respect and admire the most?