It was the summer of 2010 when a fellow P&Gier asked me: ‘have you thought about getting an mba in the US?’, my answer was: ‘not really. why?’. Two years later I decided to apply. Why so late…and what changed, you might ask. Well good questions. Let’s see:
1. THERE WERE OTHER THINGS TO DO. as usual. but what it meant is that i did not spend quality time researching and truly understanding the value of a top b-school mba program. most importantly though, i did not do a thorough self-reflection of what i want to do professionally and if an mba is the best option to get me there.
2. I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS WORTH THE EFFORT. exactly to my previous point. i checked several b-school rankings, read few forum posts and articles and realized that the best programs cost an arm and a leg (or even two) and the added value was being questioned left, right and center. on top it was the middle of an economic recession so it only intensified everyone’s doubts about real worth of an mba. some even announced the end of it.
3. I WASN’T READY. i actually realized that two years later. of course it is hard to judge if my 2010 profile/experience would’ve gotten me into a top US b-school, but my gut-feel now is that it wouldn’t have.
Funnily enough i bought a GMAT prep book in 2010 and even started studying towards the exam. But because I wasn’t convinced about the program, my commitment wasn’t there. Finally i let go.
So what had changed in those 2 years?
1. I MATURED (hehe). professionally that is. I realized what was making me happy and motivated at work …and what wasn’t. I also started thinking a bit more mid/long term about my professional goals and aspirations. an mba seemed (and still seems) like the perfect next step.
2. I TALKED TO THE ALUMNI. this was the biggest eye-opener. i could feel from them the drive, passion and sense of wanting to do something big / significant. very refreshing and aspirational (at least for me at that moment in time). it didn’t matter which school they graduated from (all from the top US programs though:)) which was even more appealing. plus first-hand ‘insights’ about an mba program were much more valuable vs. everything i had read online.
3. I WANTED TO GIVE IT A SHOT. I think one quote of a Stanford GSB professor that I heard from GSB Alumn fits perfectly: ‘pain from the mistakes made wears off in time. pain from the opportunities not taken haunts you forever’. i feel this would’ve been that kind of an opportunity for me.
Cliched as it may sound, at the end of the day I (somehow) felt this was the right time and the right decision to make. Even If I hadn’t gotten accepted, i still would’ve been happy that I had taken the effort to prepare the application. It was a great way to step back for a moment and reflect on my life…at least the professional part of it.