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What an MBA has taught me

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I always thought that practical experience was more valuable than studies. I still believe that.
However, at about 45 years old, I reached a plateau in my career. Dealing increasingly with financial, marketing, risk, and legal specialists, I wanted to understand these areas better.
At the same time, my thought led me to think I could be a Director or General Manager. What about being a CEO, leading a company, even my own?
So, I made one of the best decisions in my life and joined an MBA program. This is what it has taught me:

Nothing is written in stone

We often take the business world’s current processes, habits, and customs as written in stone. “This is how we have always done it,” is usually what I hear. What if there was a better way to operate a company, serve customers or even lead one? These “experienced” leaders were intimidating; although it didn’t make sense to me, I didn’t have any tools to question them or at least enter into a dialogue about their approach. An MBA has given me the tools and the confidence to be a valuable thinking partner.

You need to consider the big picture.

One of the first statements I heard during my MBA studies is that managers and leaders need to “take time to reflect”. This is issue number one of a leader: being caught in the daily work without the time and ability to take time to reflect. If you are not constantly holding the big picture, selecting the right opportunity in your work and organisation is extremely challenging.

Everything is strategy

It surprised me initially that most of the MBA courses in the program were called “Strategy” (Marketing Strategy, Financial Strategy, Information Technology Strategy). Only one course was named “Strategy”. I soon started to understand why. As a General Manager or CEO, you must accept that you are or will not be a specialist in any area. Your role is different: lead the company or organisation strategically. This means that when approaching a marketing, finance, or IT specialist, you will be able to understand their field and discuss the impact their services bring in fulfilling the company’s or organisation’s vision and goals.

Business is more than just money.

Is financial success the only priority of a business? Is there somebody in between an NGO and a “normal business”? During the MBA, I discovered a powerful principle: the triple bottom line. My goal was to balance financial and social impacts, which liberated me. So much so that I selected the topic of Social Enterprises for my Thesis and created one, Swiss Leaders Group.

Sustainability is at the heart of the future of business

When starting the EMBA, I thought it was about business core skills (legal, contracts, risk, finance). Most of the topics addressed business strategy from the sustainability point of view. A question summarises it all: Is my business/company/organisation positively contributing to the society and environment in which it operates?

You never know where it will lead you.

I started the boys’ scout to learn to climb trees as a young boy.
At age forty-five, I started coaching certification to get to know better people who are different from me.
One year later, I started studying for an MBA to get better at business.

Where did you end up?

At 52 years (and a bit), I am now an Executive Coach, Leadership Trainer, and University Lecturer. I enjoy dialogue with business leaders (and future ones) and sustainable human-centred business strategies and relationships.

One guarantee: if you start on a journey, you will not end up where you thought you would. Study and personal development are not a destination; it is a journey.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking

Oh, one more thing: you might think 45 is a little late. Maybe or not. Better late than never!

Find out by yourself.

The MBA is more than a diploma. It’s a journey of personal growth that equips you with new skills and guarantees job opportunities. The numbers speak for themselves—87% of alumni report a positive ROI from their graduate business education, and 71% of corporate recruiters agree that employees with business school education tend to earn more (according to GMAC).

Further resources

Why get an MBA in Europe
10 articles to convince you of the benefits of an MBA in 2022

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