In less than a month the prospect of studying for an MBA, outside the UK at a real internationally renowned school, has taken two massive steps forward.
Two years ago, I decided I’d like to try studying/working abroad, or both. I knew of graduate business degrees, but wasn’t obsessive about them. In my own area of expertise (Manufacturing) some senior directors have them but its very much 50:50. My current US-based business is much more MBA friendly than the UK-based business I was at before. In fact, even now I don’t think MBAs are anywhere near as respected as they are abroad, especially the US – this is probably reflected by the standard of business education in the UK (excluding London Business School) being so far behind compared to the standing of its major universities in undergraduate degrees.
Looking at my career, it looked like a fairly sensible choice. I was an engineer by education, working in manufacturing and already an assistant manager for a good sized department at the age of 26. I’d already worked as a shift manager, including working on nights, and had prior experience of managing people. (Since then, I’ve been promoted twice and run an area with a turnover of $25m).
So I started on the GMAT. Slowly. I got distracted by other things. In 18 months I bought some books and hardly made any progress. Then I got promoted to my current role at work. I went on a training course with some peers, and had a few (and few more) drinks in the bar in the evening. They were all over 40. Half had part-time/distance MBAs (Executive MBAs? Don’t make me laugh). When I mentioned I’d considered it, they said “do it properly. Enjoy it. Don’t try and do that and work, and bring up kids”. So I decided I would.
In 6 months.I self-taught myself English grammar (again). I stopped making the stupid math mistakes I made when I was 16 (again). And I took the GMAT in January. I was stunned to get 720. My objective had been to reach above 700, mainly because I thought admissions staff might cut the deck by rejecting all the ones under that at some point. So, check.
Then the second hurdle was this week. I’ve studied the admissions process and its clear I’ll need the support of my company to make it with references etc. So my half-year appraisal came up and I mentioned it.
30 minutes later, my director was scratching his chin musing that “well, this might fit very well within your plan at the company”. The business is keen for staff with experience of emerging markets as its moving into the ‘BRIC’ countries. I was told I’m considered a ‘rising star’. He had agreed to write one of my references, and volunteered his boss (a senior VP) to write the second. “I’m sure they’ll love to support it” he said.
In all honesty, I’ve come out with even greater regard for my boss. He’s really got not a lot to gain from this personally, but he wants to support me anyway. I’ve asked not to involve Human Resources yet. They just ruin everything with paperwork.
So like I said at the top. It’s on. September and the first deadlines suddenly seem a lot closer. I really hope I’m not going to end this blog disappointed.
***Note to the reader: This is really just an introduction. A bit of background about me. I’ve read some blogs with a similar theme to me, but most writers seem to be based in India (which is culturally very different to my circumstances) or an Admissions Consultant.
I’m neither. I really REALLY hope this will help someone like some forums helped me. I’ll post more on this in the future***