On my flight back from San Francisco to Columbus last Saturday, I was reflecting on the true value an MBA education adds to the resume and more importantly the personality of a business professional. I can probably write a book about it, but I am sure no one wants to read my boring book (not now at least, maybe in 5 years :-) ). Here are a couple of things from my experience and understanding which make sense to me to this time.
Prestige: The prestige of top business schools around the world, arguably, is the alumni network. With LinkedIn gaining critical mass, MBA alums (or non-MBAs) are almost always trying to help out current students like myself (in turn often unintentionally promoting the business school brand that is on their resume). This is a ‘natural’ and a global phenomenon. In addition to geography, alumni performance and support seem to be the biggest factors in most firms’ decision to recruit at a particular school.
Personal Interaction with Alums: In my 18 months at business school, I have been fortunate to be a part of a vast network and have gained valuable insights (not to mention the relationships which have translated into interviews with great firms). I can name almost 50+ alums that I have spoken with at various stages for a variety of reasons. Predominantly, the response has been great, the advice has been sincere and experiential, and we all talk about the university and its amazing campus in the same tone.
Value of Education: Don’t get me wrong, the value and application of the MBA education is very broad and not to be confused with the networking aspect. The critical thinking and analytical skills, in addition to the frameworks to breakdown a tough situation in a methodical and scientific way, are the highlights of a few skills I have learned. The two most fascinating and unique classes have been the spreadsheet modeling classes with Prof Wayne Winston. In addition to the fact that Prof Winston is one of the most lively, liked and funny professors at the school, the material, modeling tricks and the breadth and depth of issues we cover in the two classes is unparalleled. In addition to my finance classes (with lots of formulas and numbers which wakes up the engineer in me), I think that these analytical skills are very important to ‘excel’ (pun intended) in challenging post-MBA business roles.
Bay Area “Tech Trek” Jan 5-8: During my recent visit to the Bay Area (my preferred geo for post MBA employment), my classmate UrbanTurbanGuy and I were very lucky to sit down for coffee/breakfast/lunch with 7 or 8 very accomplished IU Kelley MBA alums, with decades of work experiences ranging from the industry gorillas to the disruptive players. Their long-term perspective, advice and encouragement is exactly what the doctor ordered in these tough employment conditions.
The Bay Area culture is unique and the people are even more unique. Look out for a post on the details on this “tech trek” later this week.