One day, you wake up with an idea; you are going to grab your backpack, your best pair of shoes and you’re going to leave the house for a 2 year walkabout. You are not exactly sure where you are going but you have a map. You do not really know what you need to put in the backpack but hope to figure it out along the way. You had briefly discussed the project with your spouse but nobody really knows what will happen during those tortuturous months ahead. It seems very promising and full of challenges, so why not get an MBA?
MBA are three letters that your manager hopes to achieve. Master of Business Administration. It does sound nice, doesn’t it? This is the kind of title you want beside your name on a business card. Or at least, some people do. Unfortunately, I have another way of seeing things. According to me, it is just three letters and another piece of paper to put on my wall. It wasn’t easy; don’t get me wrong, I earned those three letters through hard work and many a sacrifice. But in the end, has it really made me a better manager (to be?) or a superb employee? I am not quite sure about that.
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So why did you do an MBA?
I have always believed in plan B. When things go wrong, you need to move to plan B easily and keep on truckin’. You can’t afford to simply wait, depressed and balling your eyes out if you lose your job. It is my responsibility as a husband and father to help ensure my family has all the necessities. This is why I have felt the need for a plan B.
I had decided to do an MBA before I became a financial planner (doing my CFP exams was actually my plan B back then 😉 ). At that time, I was the senior on my team in our department at the bank and was promised a great career there. The management team saw, in me, their next manager. Since I didn’t want to miss my chance, I decided to register in the MBA program. It was to further my interest in joining the management ranks (I really felt this way back then) and the bank was willing to pay my tuition in the meantime. This was a win-win situation.
In the middle of the MBA, I decided to change career paths and become a financial planner. Nonetheless, I had decided to finish the MBA since I rarely quit projects once having started them! In addition to that, the famous 3 letters were to give me additional credibility in front of clients. They were more inclined to listen to my advice knowing I was getting an MBA in financial services (I guess this is due to my relatively young age. As who was I to tell them what to do with their money 😉 ).
This week, our team finally submitted our the latest version of the final paper. This is actually the 3rd time and I expect to not invest another single minute on this paper. Hopefully, the 3rd attempt will be the one! So, now that I have completed the program, here is my own definition of the MBA program:
Achieving an MBA is rewarding as people usually give it great credibility.
It is also working on your stuff on a Friday night or Saturday morning while your kids are playing with your spouse. It is entire spending weekends in class or taking vacation days to study.
Having an MBA assures you of a certain employability if anything goes wrong at your current job.
It is also rushing like a fool in a gold mine to succeed at work while trying to get good marks at the same time.
Getting an MBA helps develop a huge network with the “right” people.
It is also being disappointed in humanity when some of your class mates cannot ever arrive to class on time or make presentations without obvious typographical errors. Not everyone in the class deserves the recognition that comes with the MBA but all of them will get it anyways.
Completing an MBA ensures you learn from your classmates and gives you the opportunity to build true friendships.
It is also a pain to manage people, supposedly on your team, that you don’t get along with and try to survive deadlines with these people when they don’t really care about the effort required.
Finally, finishing an MBA takes only a few seconds as time zooms by at the speed of light.
But every single moment seems to last an eternity at the same time!
In the end, I would say that the most important thing is to make sure your spouse and children understand. Getting an MBA is a full body experience and can take over your life and their lives too! It is a great experience but like any step in life where you learn something, it is not easy.
I have received several individual questions about the MBA program so far. I am always glad to answer your questions 😀 Just drop me an email at thefinancialblogger at gmail dot com.
I GOT AN “A” IN MY LAST PAPER AND I AM OFFICIALLY DONE AS OF THIS MORNING…YEAH BABY!!!!!!
image source : Kevan
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This is probably the most exciting part of 2009: my first vacation after completing an MBA! We actually just finished our last paper this week and it was quite painful. We are celebrating my daughter’s birthday tomorrow, packing for our road trip (we leave on Sunday morning) and I spent Monday night on a boat with clients/friends… I had to find the courage to cut into my few hours of sleep to finish this darn paper on top of that…
For those who think of doing an MBA, I have one thing to say: be prepared to pay the price. In all honesty, this wasn’t the most difficult academic program I have followed. It was actually quite easy to achieve good results. It didn’t necessarily require a lot of brain power either, for the most part (I can only imagine these posts being read by a few of my classmates …. Some of them are smiling,,others are cursing 😉 ).
Doing a MBA is like running a Marathon
While I have never run a marathon (I’m still not in such good shape 😉 ), I think we can make at least one comparison: the need for endurance. Running a marathon doesn’t require you to be the fastest runner or best sprinter. It requires that you be the model of perseverance and work ethic in order to train regularly and achieve a long term goal.
Well doing an MBA is very similar. It doesn’t require you be the smartest cookie of all. There are so many different fields of study (human resources, psychology, productivity, finance, marketing, accounting, etc.), you can’t just be the best in each of them. However, during 2 years, you have a steady flow of work to accomplish, day after day, week after week, month after month. If you stop and take a break, the amount of work will simply pile up until you get going again. This becomes quite discouraging at some point; there is no rest for the wicked.
The hardest part is the last 6 months. As you can see the finish line and are almost done, you realize how much it cost to complete your MBA. You have to sacrifice family time, meet your friends quarterly, you can’t work as hard at work and get the bonus otherwise achieved and you become terribly tired. These are the real costs of doing an MBA full time while working.
Some may say I didn’t help myself since I have started a company and switched careers at the same time. Well, I must admit that you are right! However, I am getting quite close to where I wanted to be at the age of 30 and I still have 2 more years to realize my goals. It’s all a matter of be willing to pay the price or not.
But beware; the price might be higher than you thought! I have seen people losing their family over the MBA or disconnecting completely from their friends. Remember, the one you love and friendships are something too valuable to lose for a piece of paper with 3 letters on it. Just be careful when entering this program 😉
So now that I am packing up and taking my first real vacation in the past 2 years, I can finally rest ;-D I have some great guest posts for next week so you won’t be missing me too much 😉
Enjoy your summer and I’ll be back shortly!
image source: joiseyshowaa
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Picture this: You are young and pretty and you meet your perfect match (she is young and pretty 😉 ). You get along pretty well, you both work, make money and after a while, you decide to live together. Life is great, you get married, buy your first house and… oh my god; she gets pregnant! You are living the perfect love, get a second child, and buy a bigger house: your life is perfect! And then, one day, you discover that your life is far from being perfect; you guys realize that you don’t love each other anymore. You both decide to split and keep going with you life. But wait! You were making 75K/year and she was making 25K… Somebody is going to get fooled…..
Myth #1 You have to give 50% of your pay cheque to your ex-wife
A few decades ago, divorce measures were made to punish people because they were breaking their engagement. Therefore, several people stayed together simply because they couldn’t afford to divorce. However, we are far from this situation in the 21st century. If you don’t live with your spouse anymore, she can ask you alimony but it might be refuted as well.
The alimony to the ex-spouse has been created in order to protect the spouse with the lowest income to keep a certain lifestyle. However, if she is making enough money to live a decent live and pay her bills, you won’t have to pay for alimony! So in the case where you make 75K and she makes 25K, you might have to pay a small one but definitely not 30K per year!
Myth #2 You have to give the other 50% of your pay cheque to your ex-wife as child alimony
Then again, we all heard nightmare stories about that poor guy who lost his wife, his house, his car and finally his job during a deep depression where he had to give every single penny earned to his ex-wife as alimony.
There is actually a chart where you can determine how much you will have to pay in child alimony. The chart first determine the family income (each person take out the first 10K before calculation) and then consider the number of children.
This will give you the amount necessary for the kids to keep their lifestyle. Then, that number is prorated according to the importance of your income in the family income (in our situation 75%). Technically, you would have to pay 75% of the amount in the chart.
However, you have the possibility to prorate this amount according to the number of days that you take care of the children. Therefore, if you take care of them 50% of the time, you will be able to drop this number by 50%. Then, if you pay for daycare, private school, etc. you have the possibility to take off those amounts from the alimony.
Keep in mind that the money send to the spouse as children alimony is disposable as the spouse’s wishes (yeah, that sucks!).
Myth #3 Once the alimony is set, you can’t change it
The alimony can be reviewed in court every year. This is quite a pain but you can request a revision if you financial situation has changed and you can’t afford to pay the alimony anymore. On the other side, if you are making a bigger income, there is nothing stopping your ex-wife to ask you for more money 😉
If you get to this point, I would suggest that you try as much as possible to get along with an agreement between you and your ex-spouse. Getting lawyers and court into your story might not be a good solutions for everyone.
image source: clarism
I’m shortly starting the month of July, my very first month as a free man! Ok, I am ignoring the fact that I still have to write a final paper but it doesn’t matter; I got my weekend back, I got my life back. So what’s next? Where is my promotion, my bigger office and my new BMW? Huh… not quite there yet apparently!
Will I change job?
Funny enough, spending 2 years with managers and learning how to become one gave me all the reasons in the world to not become one! Ok… I am exaggerating a bit. However, looking at the number of hours worked by manager around me makes me wonder why do accept such responsibilities if it’s to be paid per hour as a burger flipper? Is it for power? Is it because they just love their company? Or maybe they would love to own their own business and this is the closest they found with a (virtual) “guaranteed income”. So will I change job after my MBA to become a manager? Hell no!
However, I have built a hell of a network and I can easily get myself better employment conditions as a financial planner ;-). I have made great friends and I also learned how to “play” their game. If you know how a manager thinks before he hires you, you can get much more (Fred, please ignore this line ;-0 ).
What is my next big project?
NONE! Huh… then again, a little bit of exaggeration from my evil me. I actually have 3 huge projects in mind:
– Taking care of my wife and my family (which is by far the most important thing I will do!)
– Keep losing weight and getting in shape (this is definitely happening already so I should succeed by the end of the summer by weighting 170-180lbs and get rid of all my fat!).
– Bring my business to another level. I really would like to wonder if I keep working or if I can simply live from my online income… I think that by putting more effort into it, I’ll be able to achieve this goal within the next 2 years…. This would be amazing!
If I had to do it again, would I do it anyway?
If I had the power to go back in time in August 2007, I would still come to my first class and do my MBA. This was a painful experience where I almost lost my sanity and my family. However, this brought me where I am, this helped me become who I am today and this will surely be helpful in the future. So I would still do it, knowing what was coming for me!
What is the next step once you have done your MBA?
Take a deep breath and relax!!!! I am actually considering taking more days off and going on vacation… I’ll see if I can manage something with my manager 😉
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I finish this small series about surviving to a MBA with a few more tricks to improve your efficiency and your overall experience while during the programs.
Don’t bother reading everything
You may start your MBA with great intentions and motivation. However, the level of reading required by each teachers is ridiculous. They give you a 800 pages books, note, powerpoints and articles to read for each class. If you do everything, trust me, you will spend the next two years of your life only doing the MBA. I don’t think it’s worth it.
Based on the Paretto Principle (this is my motto!), you should use 20% of your time to create 80% of the results. Therefore, listen to the teach in class (you are stuck on that chair anyway, so you rather listen to what he says) and then, identify the important part to read in the book according to what he says and what he spends the most time. Be careful, this method can be misleading if you are not use to “read between the lines”. But if the teacher spends some time on a concept, that you find it again in your notes and you have a chapter on it in the book, I would bet that it will be at the exam 😉
The key is not to know everything and I think it is one of the goal of the MBA; to make sure you can manage a inhuman amount of information and still get what is important out of it. Do you think that VP’s and Presidents of this world know everything single details of their company, their market and the economy? They don’t, but they have this amazing power of synthesis!
Make a lot of friends
The MBA is also about cooperation. If you make friends among and outside your team, you will not only build a strong network for your career but you will also benefit from the experience of several people while studying, making your researches and writing your papers. Be careful of not benchmarking too much as the best team always sets the rule and don’t really care about what the others say or do. However, when you have a question, it is interesting to validate with more than one source.
Work with leaders in each project
When we started our first session, we decided to try the following model: Each of us took the lead for a class where he has strong points. The team leader of each project would decide and define the project for the session. He would determine what needs to be done and by whom. Finally, he was responsible to put all parts together and make sure it makes sense at the end. While putting all parts together, he was able to add more knowledge and details to the paper since he was working on his strength. This saved us a lot of time because we didn’t argue much about what should be done and we got excellent marks for all our projects.
Don’t meet when it is not necessary
You will always have people that are fans about team meeting. They just love it! They want to meet every week and believe that they will be better / more productive by doing so. We completely did the opposite. We rarely meet off class. We actually meet once or twice per session and we determine why we meet and what needs to be done in team before we attend to the meeting. For some weird reasons, we always managed to put the less number of hours in our project than the other teams but we were always able to get in the top marks. You don’t have to work hard to get good results; you only have to work smart 😉
To see the other post of this series, click on the following links:
If you have any other questions about my MBA program, don’t hesitate to send me an email at thefinancialblogger (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll be happy to share a piece of my experience with you!Comment: 1 Read More
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