Millennials and non-millennials alike seem to come to a similar conclusion when they are looking to take their career to the next level or feel like “something’s missing” at work; they decide to do their MBA. Now I am not saying that an MBA isn’t a good idea for everyone, heck for some it can be exactly what they need to get to the next level of their career. I am simply saying it is not a fix all. Let me share a little on my personal journey.
I am a type A personality; I had my path set out a long time ago. I planned my gap year after high school, then I knew university would come next followed by some work experience and finally my dream MBA at a school in Europe. It was golden. As I came closer to the MBA portion I chugged along in preparation, until an afternoon, heart beating out of my chest, that I canceled my GMAT.
The process of deciding not to do my MBA was a really emotional one and a long one at that. The whole thing took about six months or so for me to really realize what I wanted. After my soul searching and endless introspective sessions I determined that an MBA was something I felt that I should do, and not something I necessarily wanted to do.
In my master plan that I had created for myself I had come to a decision point; the point where the MBA would become really real. I did all the things I was supposed to do; did my research on schools, joined a GMAT prep course and booked my exam date. Throughout the entire process I found things to be almost painful. Looking back now at this I find it so interesting because if I am doing something that I am passionate about, even if it is hard work and late nights, I thrive on it and it actually GIVES me energy. When I was doing all this MBA prep, it drained me and caused me to question my motives!
My pivotal moment happened while visiting a friend in London. She asked why I actually wanted to do my MBA and mentioned how I really didn’t need it. Her blunt honesty struck me like a pound of bricks. At first I thought about the same old reasons like international experience and a good network, which she pointed out I already had and didn’t have to pay the $100k price tag to get. It got me thinking about what my driving reasons were to go and spend a heap of money, consume a year or more of my life and take on some massive stress!
After some major pondering I came to a root cause; I felt like having my MBA
. . . would make me enough and I would somehow be more worth it. . .
This was a troubling but liberating realization.
I realized for many years I had been doing things because I thought I should be, not because it was necessarily the thing that would bring me the most joy or passion.
I took a step back and thought about what I really wanted; flexibility, an international life, and a creative business. These are the things that drive me, and things that inherently make me happy, why wouldn’t I take them into consideration? This is was when I became a blogger.
Maybe it is just me, but I would bet that there are many people who think like this. We put pressure on ourselves to be enough. There are, of course, the pressures that we get from society and many that we get from ourselves but there comes a time that you should just do it for you because it makes you happy.
If you are considering doing your MBA I challenge you to think about these things
Consider another program –
From speaking to many MBA alumni it has been stated over at over that you are likely to end up in a similar, albeit more senior role as you were in before. If you’re trying to make a career switch ensure that you have an internship component in the program or perhaps take a more focused program altogether. If you are planning to specialize in Finance for example, consider a Masters of Finance, as it will be cheaper and more niche to your dream job.
Know your goals before starting –
My biggest thing was I determined I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Doing my MBA would enlarge my network but it wouldn’t give me the skills I needed to run a business. Try to think about where you want to end up after you’ve completed the program. If you can see a good path from MBA to your goal, amazing! If not, then consider your alternatives.
Do your research –
Whether you are dead set on an MBA or are still testing the waters – DUE DILIGENCE – is key. Ask people about their experience, what they liked and would have changed. This will help you decide on things like MBA vs. no MBA all the way down to minute details of if you want to live on campus.
I challenge everyone to think about the passions and goals that you have. Are you taking yourself seriously and doing things for you or are you planning your life full of things you feel you should do.
Think about it . . .
Annika Friesen is a lifestyle blogger from Toronto, Canada. The blog Fernweh Society is all about in travel, career, fashion and girlbossin’. You may find her running around Toronto cell phone in hand and jacked up on espressos or sneaking off to the airport for a jet setting adventure. Annika lives with her other half Dustin and their frenchie Karlsson.
Post expires at 10:27am on Monday January 8th, 2018