“Look back to us as we look to you; we are related by our imaginations. If we are able to touch, it is because we have imagined each other’s existence, our dreams running back and forth along a cable from age to age. Hold this paper to the light. It is a mirror, a delusion, a fact in the brief continuous mystery we share… Draw close. Let us tell each other a story.” -Roger Rosenblatt
The MBA myth tells us that leaving our jobs for an intensive period of business study affords us the ability to re-write our script. Feeling stuck in a dead-end job? Tired of your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? Bored by life? Or maybe you feel—or even know that you really are destined for greatness. Never mind that it hasn’t happened yet.
Allow me to seduce you with a dream… a second chance in life. Maybe you went to a crappy undergraduate university, or maybe you missed your chance to get that job you always dreamed of at Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, Google, McKinsey, or Microsoft. Or maybe you actually graduated from Harvard and worked at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, but found yourself strangely unfulfilled.
The MBA solution is simple and seductive: write the GMAT, crank off a few essays about wanting to conquer the world, pass two alumni interviews, and voilà, the world is your oyster. Tuition will be billed separately, of course.
Each INSEAD MBA participant comes to Fontainebleau with his/her own aspirations in search of a personal goal. Like all mythic journeys, my year at INSEAD has fulfilled some expectations and fallen short in others. But the undercurrent of my MBA experience has been the enduring question of whether I have changed.
On Monday I went into work to complete some HR paperwork for my new post-MBA job. I stopped by my boss’s office to say hello. While waiting outside his office, I ran into a subordinate for the first time, one of 6 managers who will be directly reporting to me. She recognized me and said, “Oh, you’re the new Director!” As I spoke to her, I was hyper conscious of the fact that I was making my first impression on her. The entire exegesis of Daniel Goleman and a decade’s worth of Harvard Business Review articles on leadership flashed though my head in an instant. I took the plunge and spoke naturally, without hesitation. After a year away from working in my industry, I surprised myself by carrying an informed professional discussion using many of the people skills and techniques I gained in my MBA. Having mastered both worlds, it felt great being adept at navigating both the theoretical aspects of management as well as the practical business side. Oh, the places I’ll go.
“So, good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends.” -Puck