MBA Preparation, Services

Senior execs weigh in on the question: Why a Top MBA?

May 5 2011 By The MBA Exchange
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You bring a lot to the table in terms of pursuing an MBA now. That said, regardless of your current status, there are gaps between you and ultimate success. We recently looked at two of the gaps that you might be facing. Here we explore a couple more.

The gap between you and the CEO’s office

Companies traditionally select as chief executive officers those who have transformed themselves successfully from middle managers to general managers. En route to the big corner office, they enhanced their knowledge, raised their visibility and built strong personal networks.

A former top executive with a global advertising agency explains that an MBA degree helped him get noticed early on, and tagged by his CEO for key trouble-shooting assignments. “No matter what I happened to be doing at the time, if the company was facing a challenge, the CEO would call me to say, “Go find out what’s wrong.’ He’d tell the client that he was sending his MBA to fix things. As an MBA student, I had learned to penetrate the real issues and address the central problem.”

Another top executive says, “Throughout my career, I’ve always been an aggressive problem-solver with a global perspective, skills that my MBA curriculum brought into focus. Combined with leadership skills, innovative thinking and common sense, an MBA degree can be a powerful catalyst. To achieve high-level success in business today, an MBA is almost a necessity.”

Not everyone at the top chose an MBA along the way. The founder and CEO of a leading technology company, who opted for an engineering degree rather than an MBA, now reflects, “My company might have been bigger if I had an MBA degree, because then I would have been able to make business decisions with more sophistication.”

There is broad agreement on the networking benefits of a top-notch MBA degree. By “joining the club,” a euphemism for graduating from a leading business school, one gains entry to an invaluable web of classmates, alumni, future grads and educators who represent a world of expertise and influence. A former advertising agency leader says, “Students at the top business schools get to know people they’re going to network with for the rest of their lives. I would run into people from my MBA class years later, and it took just five minutes for us to reconnect. There was no question about whether we trusted each other. All they asked was ‘What do you need?’.”

The gap between you and your “personal best”

You know, far better than anyone else does, when you are truly successful. This requires meeting your own standards, but more often it means exceeding those standards and then raising the bar. It has been said that success occurs at the intersection of opportunity, ability and motivation. Frequently, though, one or two of these variables are missing. You can become frustrated, feel trapped and unable to proceed, not knowing how to realize your full potential.

While there are no guarantees, the truth is that people can improve their odds of reaching a personal best. Winners learn how to create opportunities, neutralize weaknesses, develop higher abilities and boost motivation. Such confidence and proficiencies can be sharpened by the rigor of a quality MBA education.

A senior operating officer explains, “I always believed that, if I graduate with distinction from a top business school, then continue to work hard, I’d never have to worry about anyone being a heck of a lot smarter than I am. Education is a lifelong process. You must never stop learning. Earning an MBA opens up the pores, and helps keep them wide open. Do it. It will pay off over the years. You will have more confidence in the decisions you make.”

MBA education is not just for those in their early to mid-20s. An accomplished entrepreneur and venture capitalist, with extensive holdings that include over a dozen McDonald’s restaurants, shares his thoughts. “Whether you’re 25 or 40, it’s a heck of a way to jumpstart your career. Without the exposure you get in these programs, I don’t know how you can compete. It makes you better suited to handle your own career and not be at the mercy of some giant corporation. An MBA is like money in the bank. They can’t take it away from you, and you’re always going to use it.”

Ready to invest in yourself and go for a top MBA? We can help. Contact The MBA Exchange for a free evaluation of your potential as an applicant.