Why did I choose to do an MBA?
My love for Economics, evolved!
After months of GMAT preparation (don’t ask!) and honing essay writing skills, I’ve finally landed a spot at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in their Evening & Weekend MBA (EWMBA) class of 2020. While this was about a year in the making, I’ve been thinking about an MBA for more than two years now.
The decision to pursue an MBA is never an easy one to make. (Insider tip: there’s never a right time, do it when you can!). Given the huge commitment in time, energy and resources that it requires, there’s some due diligence to be done before stepping in. I spend on an average 1–3 days before buying a product on amazon, about a couple of weeks before a more expensive purchase such as a camera. So it took me about two years to finalize the MBA, a not so subtle pinch on the wallet.
I would recommend Harvard Business School’s HBX program to anyone thinking about Business School. It’s a 12 week mini-MBA program that will give you a nice introduction to what it’s like to be in Business School at a much lower price point. At the end of the program, if you are left wanting for more, then you will surely enjoy the MBA curriculum. ‘I’m bored at my current job’ or ‘I don’t know what I want’ are not good reasons to pursue an MBA. An MBA surely is a door to several opportunities, but you have to walk through it on your own. An MBA is not a standalone shining star in your professional career, but it is more like the cherry on top of all that you’ve done so far in life.
An MBA is not a standalone shining star in your professional career, but it is more like the cherry on top of all that you’ve done so far in life.
People pursue an MBA for different reasons. For some, an MBA is a requirement for their next job or promotion. For others, it’s a self-discovery process. While others do it to develop a unique skill set. For me, personally, it’s my love for Economics that led to a passion for Product Management and Management Consulting and got me to business school.
My journey began with a deep interest in the 2008 global financial crisis. After watching every possible documentary on this issue, I developed a love for Economics. I personally believe that Economics is like the ‘pure sciences’, not to be confused with one of its major practical applications — Finance. A healthy dose of Planet Money and Freakonomics spiked my interest in how people arrive at decisions, i.e. Behavioral Economics. I read that we live in the cup-holder era, where a customer may not buy a new car just because it doesn’t have cupholders in the backseat. People pick phones based on how it feels in their hands and whether the edges are round or square, not because somebody built the fastest semiconductor chip to power it. The decisions that go into making a product or creating a service are often driven by engineering teams, sensitive schedules, supply chain constraints and cost. Whereas the customer is using a totally different set of metrics to decide on his purchase. The fact that I was having these thoughts, I saw myself as a liaison, the Product Manager, bridging this very gap.
I read that we live in the cup-holder era, where a customer may not buy a new car just because it doesn’t have cupholders in the backseat.
While Behavioral Economics led me to Product Management, Micro and Macro-economics led me to Management Consulting. Surprising as it may sound, for the first time, I was thinking about various business decisions from an academic standpoint. How does one set the pricing for the next cloud computing service? How do companies decide whether to grow organically or make an acquisition? How do you scale a business model? I realized that the generic solution to a lot of these problems was team work, data driven decisions and sound leadership. Well, I wanted to be at the heart of solving such problems! So I started listening to talks by several business leaders, only this time, I put on my Consultant hat.
Surprising as it may sound, for the first time, I was thinking about various business decisions from an academic standpoint.
Dominic Barton, the global managing partner of Mckinsey, helped transform my curiosity into real passion. His knowledge not only spanned industries, but also geographies! I was enlightened to know that markets in the developing world, more than the size of US and Europe combined, remain untapped and under-served. With the economic epicenter of the world shifting east, I realized that corporations needed to have a well defined strategy for countries in Asia and Africa. All this excitement motivated me to get a formal business education and equip myself with the skills needed to tackle diverse business challenges.
His knowledge not only spanned industries, but also geographies!
Last but not the least, I talked to people, a lot of people, before making this decision. Never discredit any source of information or advice. I spoke with several people — engineers, consultants and an economist! I also attended several pre-MBA seminars hosted by different business schools in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Make a list of all the possible things you could do to move forward in your professional career in the next three years. If ‘getting an MBA’ makes it to the top three in this list, then go do it!
Feel free to ask me questions and share your feedback, I’d love to hear your thoughts! And if you liked the article, please do share and recommend!