Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why get an MBA?

A former colleague and I met this afternoon to discuss graduate school. Business school to be exact. He's thinking about applying to schools and was wondering why I decided to get an MBA and what I did to prepare.

I started our conversation off like all of my discussions around higher education. That is, a masters degree of any sorts promises you nothing. This is in contrary to an undergraduate degree which I argue guarantees you descent employment for the rest of your life.

My seemly negative attitude might strike you as being odd, given I have a Master of Science degree in Software Engineering and am closing in on finishing a MBA. I'm actually very positive about graduate degrees and to be honest, I think everyone should have at least one. My thoughts around advanced degrees though are based on it improving you as a person, not advancing your career. And it's "advancing your career" where I think people get confused.

I think too many of us with advanced degrees, or pursuing advanced degrees, think once we have the diploma we should be promoted. If this were true, everyone and their brother would be in management. And what a nightmare that would be!

After I got done on discussing my philosophy on advanced degrees I ran through what I did in preparation for both programs, especially the MBA one. I got the feeling he appreciated my candid feedback on MBA programs. Before we shook hands and went our respective ways, I reiterated that getting an advanced degree is great. The past six and a half years in graduate school have been far more educational that my four years as a socializing undergraduate. However, I expect nothing more than tuition assistance from my employer. If they think I'm worthy of a promotion, my qualifications will be more about what I've done to help make us successful, rather than how many credits I've received in graduate school.

1 comment:

Scooter said...

If he wants a couple people to talk to - I can recommend some others down here. There's an architect in the area with a part-time MBA (just graduated two weeks ago) and another who has an MOT (Management of Technology) from the U of MN, which sounds like such a cool degree...except for the cost, and the pain of finishing in a normal time frame.