In fact, we’re pretty ordinary people.
Like everyone else, we eat, sleep, go to the bathroom. We do everything that everyone does. In fact, if you ask us to stand in a line, it would be difficult to see who has an MBA and who has not.
It’s like going through four years of undergrad.
Is there anything special about finishing your undergraduate degree if 80% of the population has done that anyway? No, right? An MBA at the moment has become more of a commodity. More and more people have it.
My first week of internship pounded this point. An MBA meant nothing especially in capital markets.
It doesn’t mean that if you have an MBA, you know almost immediately how the market works. You know immediately how to make money. You know all the clients in the bank.
In fact, an MBA did not prepare me for my first day back to work. It wasn’t very helpful except to set higher expectations, setting me up from a higher fall.
All it did was make me humbly realize that I, even after a year of going through an MBA, knew nothing.
It reminds me of a saying back in military school (yes, I did go to military training):
THE FOUR TYPES OF MEN
He who knows not and knows not that he knows not — he’s a fool. Shun him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not — he’s a child. Teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows not — he is asleep. Wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows — he’s wise. Follow him.
I would be the first to admit that I’m the second kind of man — the child — who still needs to be taught.
I don’ t think an MBA is any special. It took me a few months to know this, but I do realize it now.
However, I did learn a few things because of my upcoming MBA, which I will share with you at the moment.
I learned that other people are not like me.
Having worked in the finance industry, I thought people were ultra efficient, competitive and aggressive. You would think that way because people who get an MBA are doing an extra step to improve themselves further.
It’s not all true.
In fact, it really depends on the background. People in consultancy are slightly wordier because they are more process driven and have to explain things to clients. People in marketing are more consensus driven and meet so many times to make a decision. People in operations are more organized and logical.
And you know what, it’s okay.
Even if one seems to be more scatter-brained because they’re in a less organized industry, you realize that this has nothing to do with their competence. They can surprise you and can give out amazing output. It’s just that their way was not your way, and that is okay.
You realize that not everyone has the same priorities.
I came to the program in search for knowledge.
Others came in search for a career shift.
Some others came to find a life partner.
I think I’m the least flexible amongst us, but I do have a friend who told me once that she is more accepting of the strengths and weaknesses of her groupmates. She looks at what they can or cannot do, and assign work accordingly.
This is more admirable than the stubborn me who holds people to a higher standard, and come out disappointed because of this mindset.
I also realized that the world is so big.
I think an MBA is smart not because they are more intelligent.
They are smart because they realize that they know nothing. That the world is big. And there are other more talented people who are better than they are.
It’s truly a humbling rite of passage you see.
After you go through the many different lectures, work with a lot more people, you realize that no matter how many years you’ve worked, how many achievements you have, there are way others who know a lot more about you.
And it’s only by accepting that you know nothing that you can really start to push yourself to understand something. You empty your mind and let the information flow, and you learn more.
So no, I don’t think all MBAs are smart.
I don’t think that MBAs are any special.
I do think however that MBAs realize their limitations and respect the fact that they’re not that smart. That they don’t know it all.
And it’s only when you have this realization that you start learning.
And then one day… maybe… you can actually become smart.
But then again, did you really have to pay a sh*tload of money and go through the whole experience full time to learn all that? Well, that really is up to you. 🙂
Have a great weekend everyone!