With the MBA designation now on my resume, there is a sense of accomplishment behind me. Yet I am no longer seen as myself, but viewed by others through the “MBA” stereotype. There is also the sense that I am judged by the actions of generations of MBA students and hindered by my new alma mater as I head off into my job search.
My largest misperception was that career services could find me a job. Employers who have been burnt by MBA students during the boom years love to bring up this topic. The reality is that unless you want a job in management consulting or on formalised management training programmes, your job options depend on your own networks, not your business school’s.
The second misperception is that financial employers actually like to hire MBA grads. Unless you are headed for management consulting, they view it only as a credential that most people are expected to have.
As much as I hoped that my degree would cast a golden halo around my head, I needed to find a way to bridge the relevance of my business education to a job in financial services. I spent hours grappling with how best to connect my MBA to the real world, instead of spending time discussing my relevant and meaningful deal experience.
Remember that business schools are in the business of educating people. They may not be “for profit” on the record, but their survival depends on the continuation of their brand and ideals. MBA staff rely on us to walk through their ivy gates in order to keep their jobs.
Yes, I have enhanced my educational pedigree and joined an elite international network. I have met some interesting people from different backgrounds and learnt from their experiences. But more than $100k later, essentially my MBA is just a tick on my checklist of accomplishments in my over-achieving life. The time off was fun, but when I consider the opportunity costs, I would much rather have invested the funds in a property or the stock market: better long-term returns and a much better use of my time.
The Runaway MBA is an American financial professional who is interested in moving to Asia.