The way I understand MBA is simply a more elaborated degree on business. This may not be the academic definition, but that’s what you are supposed to get when you complete your study. It is rich with tools, techniques and theories on different facets of business and management. While you may not learn how to open up your own business, you definitely will leave with greater understanding on the important elements needed to grow, manage and run a business profitably.
If you are a manager, MBA will give you that edge to see the big picture of your own department and how it is closely related to the entire organization and the business environment. If you decide to open your own business, the knowledge you learn still applicable.
What MBA is not? It will not make you a genius or superhuman manager or business owner. Let’s get that part right. Because you must realize that every business consists of various determinants and people that make the business successful or bust. You still need to collaborate, communicate and connect with people (customers included) to be successful.
My MBA chronicle was a funny one. I came to AeU one day to find information and signed up within an hour. Simply because I know why I want an MBA. Having an MBA will make me a better manager, resilient person and knowledgeable being. In less than 2 years, when I graduated I got exactly just that and earned a 1st class MBA. I am very proud of what I have achieved.
Let me share few lessons and ‘pantang’s of my MBA journey:
1. Do not skip any classes
Often we treat ‘going-back-to-school’ for MBA like ‘going-back-to-school’ when we were in the university. Wrong thinking and a sure fail strategy. MBA is rich with reflective moments that you may not personally experience. You gain these insights from your tutors, professors and classmates. While you can easily read the theories from the textbooks or in AeU case from the digital library or Learning Management System, the contextual understanding and applications is crucial.
2. Read your textbooks and ask questions
If you are the ‘need-feeding type’, you are likely to remain ‘poor’ after attending all the required classes. For those who read you are likely to have questions because often we won’t understand what the authors are trying to tell us. Take for example Strategic Planning on Porter’s Five Forces. When I first read it I don’t get how Mr Porter’s tool can help me in managing a business. Only during the class, further questioning and with my tutor’s in depth explanation with some case studies I picked up the essence.
3. Plan your assignments and submit on time
Assignment is a taboo word and shouldn’t be spoken openly. Because the whole classroom might stare at you apprehensively. Not many of us take assignments seriously; some even say you can “goreng” last minute. Don’t take their word for it because they probably priming to borrow your assignments later. Read the questions early, think critically to find the relationship of the questions to your work and write it down in points form. Once you have all this, find time to get it summarized and support it with additional academic materials or references. Trust me, you will be able to submit on time.
4. Build relationship with your tutors and professors
You should envy these tutors and professors for their knowledge bank and insights. It takes years of hardship to accumulate such experiences and knowledge. One that I never missed to catch is Dr Hussain on Managerial Economics and Project Management. He is the walking library because he is a practitioner in business world. Another is En Khaeruddin on Strategic Management, another practitioner that has gone through the thick and thin of running an international company.
5. Borrow books as many as you can
Never underestimate the power of your school’s library. Although AeU provides textbooks for your courses and access to premium journals, I love books more. The library is updated with many new books from new thinkers and authors. AeU also has series of exclusive publications and magazines such as The Economist, Harvard Business Review and business magazines. I’ll be back to borrow some more soon.
6. Be prepared to miss few weddings and company events
This is one of the tests on your commitment. While you may missed all these events, never make any excuse you did it because of your study. Learn to catch up with these important events, colleagues and loved ones after you attend your class. They will still appreciate that you actually still care and remember them. J
In return of all the ‘pantang’s you adhered, you will complete your study successfully and be a better person. More doors of career opportunities will open up your way and life will improve exponentially. You will get invited to more events, win more friends and business partners and achieve your life goals.
p/s: In between those ‘pantang’s, learn also to tolerate to sceptics. Remember to run your own race and shy away from those who belittle you. Cheerz!
KHAIRUL ANWAR KAMARUDIN
MBA – 2009/11
Asia e University www.aeu.edu.my
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