What an MBA Did for Me

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What is the return on investment for an MBA? How do you really know that earning an MBA is worth it? Read stories from business school alumni about how their degree helped their careers.

Hind Hassan, Chicago: Booth

American, MBA, graduated 2019

Why did you decide to do an MBA?

I was thinking about moving back to the US having worked in Dubai for five years, first at Citigroup and then Standard Chartered. I talked to friends and alumni from Booth and saw an MBA as a two-year crash course to get back into the US finance world. Looking back, my choices and career path before business school seem so narrow. Now I have too many options. In Dubai, I worked in investment but I didn’t see much investment in women. I want to work in the US where there are opportunities to invest in women and people of colour and use my MBA as my toolkit.

Booth is known for its academic rigour and it did not disappoint. I put so much into the MBA and I got so much out. I went in knowing what job I wanted to do, but came out with a goal and the passion I was looking for.

Neil Flynn, Ceibs

British, MBA, full-time student, graduates in 2021

Why did you choose Ceibs?

Having worked in Shanghai for almost seven years, most recently for a financial consultancy, I realised that if you want to move to a large firm to do asset management or investment banking with a China focus, you need an MBA.

The entrepreneurial spirit has surprised me. People graduate from Ceibs with investments in start-ups that began as a chat with friends

China is entering a new stage — the economy is slowing down so there is greater demand for knowledge about it. Getting a real understanding of the country is important to me and it is impossible to do that if you are not here.

At Ceibs you meet people with a very different way of thinking, such as those who have worked for state-owned Chinese companies their entire lives, and you start to understand them more. The entrepreneurial spirit has also surprised me. People graduate from Ceibs with investments in start-ups that began as a chat with friends — it is impressive.

Madisyn Lu, Iese

Canadian, MBA, graduates 2020

Did anything surprise you about the MBA?

The strong academic focus. Attending classes is very important at Iese. It is quite strict but I value it: having students mandated to come to class makes discussions much more interesting.

I applied to Iese because I wanted to stay in Europe — I like living here and my husband is Spanish. I grew up with more of a North American perspective, but people in the class have direct international experience and can provide context on what it is like to work in, say, Brazil or Japan.

I am looking forward to being able to explore other interests and learn skills such as coding in the last term. It is something I have always said I would do but, unless you set aside time, it ends up on the backburner.

JJ Xu, Carnegie Mellon Teppe

Chinese, MBA, graduated 2018, chief executive of TalkMeUp

How has the MBA helped you as an entrepreneur?

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was my dream to have a tech start-up. I tried to create one in 2012 but it didn’t work — I was just a kid and needed to learn how to run a business.

During the MBA I learnt about the entrepreneurial mindset. I realised that to start a business you need a scientific approach: you study the problem, come up with a hypothesis, run tests and improve your solutions.

In the first year of the MBA I had an idea which eventually became TalkMeUp, software that provides customised communications training. You can’t get scared by the number of start-ups that fail; if you want to be an entrepreneur, I would say just do it and grow with your company.

Diego Casares Silva, AGSM

Ecuadorean, MBA, graduated 2019. Senior program manager, Amazon

How did the MBA impact you?

The most important things I learnt were personal: I discovered how I work with people and how to communicate effectively.

I wanted to do an MBA to make my profile more rounded, but also to explore entrepreneurship and get special training on how to manage a company.

The MBA has helped me to work out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Before the programme, I worked in oil and gas, but during the course I realised that I wanted to go into innovation, entrepreneurship and tech.

I would not have got my new job at Amazon in Luxembourg without the MBA. Long term, I want to contribute to society back home in Ecuador by growing the start-up ecosystem there.

Learn how an MBA can skyrocket your career, even during uncertain times. Then, create your mba.com account for resources from experts to guide you on your journey to business school and beyond.

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This article was originally published on Financial Times.

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