It’s beautiful! Things aren’t going the way you’d hoped and along comes a knight in shining armor who proclaims with utmost certainty – “We will get through this time! We will go back to basics and restore ourselves to greatness!” Tell me that image doesn’t conjure up Camelot and everything that’s right in this word?
So what is the “hidden” value of an MBA program? My hint, in my previous post said, “it has nothing to do with education”.
Let’s try to look at this objectively. As part of an MBA curriculum, a student is required to learn the core functions of a business. Now, depending on the program itself, a student can specialize in a particular subject (e.g. finance), but generally speaking, the program will still need to cover other topics including, but not limited to, HR, Marketing, Finance, Ethics, Economics, and Strategy thereby providing the student with a broad knowledge base needed to operate a company. So, regardless of whether you go to Columbia, Berkeley, Stanford, or Pepperdine, you’re going to have to learn the same topics.
If there is one thing that I have come to learn, accept, and expect throughout my life, it’s that, whether in a personal or professional capacity, people will experience what I call, “life’s resets”. In fact, people will experience many of them and in some cases cause them. Basically – this is something that throws your whole world upside down – a S.E.E. (significant emotional experience), if you will. Often, these are things that you cannot prepare for. As one of my favorite song lyrics go, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.”
The number one question on everyone’s mind, including those running in the current GOP election, is “When will the economy get back on track?” Of course, for the average citizen, the implication behind this question is “When will the unemployment rate reduce?” (i.e. when can I expect to find a job?).
Keeping this on a positive note, let’s assume that you have been one of the lucky few to actually get noticed and have embarked upon the interview process. As I’ve stated before in other posts, this, to no one’s surprise, is an employer’s market (with a few exceptions, of course). That said, employer’s are cognizant of the fact that there is an abundance of talent available and will heavily scrutinize anyone trying to secure a position within their organization.
At the foundation of any real relationship, whether personal or professional, is trust. In fact, a relationship itself cannot sustain or survive without it. Imagine asking a friend for a favor and not trusting in the fact that they would actually deliver – what’s the point of asking in the first place? Or, in a business transaction, when you verbally agree upon terms – if you don’t trust the other party to honor their commitment, why would you want to do business with them? It’s a pretty straightforward concept to get your head around.
Recently, I took some time out and watched the movie Moneyball. For those of you don’t know the story, it’s predicated on the thesis that a player’s ability to get on base is far more valuable then their ability to hit home runs. Accordingly, for every player that gets on base, it’s guaranteed that the 4th player is equal to a point (e.g. players on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd – in order for the 4th player to get on base, the player on 3rd base has to come in and score a point and the other two players rotate to the next base thereby vacating 1st base for the 4th player. The process repeats and points get accumulated).
Ahh… to be “golden” – what a great feeling! For those of you don’t understand the context, being “golden” is when you can do no wrong. Be it in your career or in your personal life – you basically have reached living bliss! Everything you touch – turns to gold! People love you! They want to be around you! It just doesn’t get any better!
All of us, at some point, have enjoyed being golden at some point. Note the past tense? That’s right – being golden isn’t, for many of us, a constant. It’s a state that we enter and exit at different points in time. Remember when Michael Phelps set all those world records for swimming? No – what you remember is his being in the news for possession of marijuana! Sorry Michael – not golden! Or how about Tiger Woods and the fact the he’s probably the greatest golfer ever? You get the point.
In fact, given today’s naturally stressful work environment, vacations are important to help get recharged so you can continue to push forward and climb the corporate ladder.
Recently, I was attending a session at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, where I am a class mentor, and we were talking about new venture opportunities. Specially, after you have gone through the screening process of identifying your next venture, you have to identify your sustainable competitive advantage and how that will map to your grand strategy.
Unfortunately, what I find is that many (inexperienced) entrepreneurs’ don’t place enough emphasis on this – partially because they believe, given what they are doing, it may not be that important and, in many cases, don’t really comprehend what a competitive advantage really is and what it can do for a company.