Wednesday, November 01, 2006

M.B.A.? Why?

A while ago my friend Nedra asked me why I had chosen to pursue an MBA degree. To her, it apparently didn’t sound like me. A few other people have also indicated surprise at my following this path, and I’ve been wondering about it myself since before I ever even applied to the program.

This is the list of reasons (slightly edited) that I wrote to Ned:

M.B.A.? Why?

Truth:

1. (This is the reason I tell most people) I figure that with an MBA after my name, and a few years living in Taiwan (aka "Republic of China"), I'll be able to impress potential employers and get a better job than I would from simply having been an English teacher abroad.

2. The MBA was the only program--other than some techy science/engineering ones for which I don't have the math--custom made for international students (There is a Taiwan studies program that I was interested in, but it was a "non-degree" graduate program, and I want a degree if I'm going to do a bunch of studying. I'm taking one of those courses now--Taiwan Folk Beliefs. It is quite interesting).

3. I got a nice scholarship and will actually be making (i.e. putting in the bank) money while I earn a valuable credential (as opposed to having to go into debt as I would in the US).

4. I've always been a "letters" kind of student. Soft stuff. Literature and languages. I could continue along this path (and remain underemployed), or I could try something outside of my comfort zone. My approach is really a liberal arts one, even though the subject is business. In fact, I find myself looking at the whole experience like a kind of social anthropologist. These business monkeys can use tools!

5. I am tired of teaching but need to stay in the country in order to be with my girlfriend.

6. I heard it was an easy 'A.

7. I'm old and scared of what the future will hold for someone without substantial resources for retirement. I'm hoping having this credential will somehow mitigate this fear and/or its root causes.

8. I want to be able to say that I have at least as much education as our fearless leader, to whom I will refer as "W" (by the way, he finished his undergrad work in 1968, but he didn't get his MBA until 1975. I mean, I hear Harvard is a tough school, but, damn!).

So those are the top eight reasons I’m at NCTU studying for an International MBA.

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