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“Should I do an MBA ?” asked the Project Manager. He had been working for the last 7 years. In the initial years, he was pretty much responsible for his own work as an individual contributor. The focus was on learning new technologies and equipping himself with the skills required to perform very well- in an area in which he had deep interest.

As the years went by, he was given more responsibilities. He realized that there were many new facets to working and business to which he had not paid attention before. When he was given further responsibilities which included being held accountable for the work done by his team members, he knew that this was a very different ball game.

Some one suggested he do a MBA. “Do a distance MBA while you work” said one. “Throw up your job and do a better MBA – like from the IIMs “said another. “Do an executive MBA which helps you learn while you earn” said another.

Many have asked me the same question over the years. Here is my take on this issue:-

  1. The MBA has value if it truly enhances your effectiveness as a professional, not as one more qualification for the record.
  2. It should equip you with the skills and knowledge not only to perform better but to take up higher responsibilities.
  3. It should be an integral part of your career plan to achieve your life goals. I mention life goals because doing an MBA after you have worked for a few years calls for considerable re-orientation in your personal life as well.

In my view, the first step is to review your life goals and career plan to determine just how important an MBA is to you. What do you need to invest and what do you expect in return? What will it give you which you aren’t getting now? These are questions you might like to think about.

As far as I am concerned, I believe a full time MBA in a top tier Business School has more value than the many, many lesser options which are becoming increasingly available to the working executive.

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This is the 165 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success