Who knew that MBA studies would be so rewarding? This essay summarizes my learnings, both personal and professional, during the course of studying for a Master of Business Administration post-graduate degree.
In the course of reflecting on program learnings, I discuss acquiring or improving the following skills:
How to thrive in an online environment.
Communicating online with good manners.
Reading and writing analytically.
Team building and problem solving skills.
The class that I found most valuable was BUS 530 Project Management, which sharpened my critical thinking and organizational skills.
My critique of the program includes the following criticisms and observations:
There was not enough networking with fellow students.
Some classes lacked audio lectures.
Developing advanced writing skills was challenging but worthwhile.
Faculty input was helpful.
Small class size was helpful.
Reflecting on self-learning I found:
I am now more comfortable taking risks.
I am excited about facing future challenges.
Program Learning Reflections
As I look back on an MBA journey which began two and one-half years ago, it is startling to consider how much I have changed as a result of this process. Not only have I learned in-depth knowledge of specific subjects, but I gained valuable self-knowledge along the way. Personal growth was the unexpected bonus of this journey that was meant to expand my professional and management skills.
The MBA journey helped me rediscover a lifelong love of learning. Juggling priorities and getting caught up in the everyday challenges of work and home life made it easy to forget about the thrill of discovery when one learns something new. Studying for an MBA allowed me to reconnect with that pleasure.
Among the valuable expertise that I am coming away with is having learned how to thrive in an online environment. Before pursing my MBA online, I was used to the traditional classroom setting; I was not sure that participating in a blog would work as well for me as a class discussion surrounded by my fellow students and an instructor. What I found with blogging, however, was that my participation in our online discussions became more efficient, more organized and more thoughtful. Posting questions and responding to discussions helped me to focus on specifics with more clarity. Similarly, class discussion blogs have made me better at expressing myself. I am better able to objectively review what I have written, to decide if I really did convey what I intended. Having the ability to step back from what I wrote now allows me to write with more focus on exchanging ideas and knowledge.
Blogging has also made me more sensitive to my classmates. Without having visual cues on which to fall back to judge others' reactions, I find myself making an extra effort not to be misunderstood, and being careful not to unintentionally communicate an idea or sentiment that others might find offensive. This does not mean of course that I swallow disagreement or dissent, only that I make the effort to communicate that disagreement or dissent as inoffensively as possible, with respect for other, sometimes opposing, opinions.
Studying for an MBA has made me a better communicator in how I express myself, and also in how I read as well. I have become a more analytical and nuanced consumer of information, having learned to better read between the lines. Reading so many research papers and articles has shown me that much scholarly research is written with a clear agenda. I understand that having a viewpoint does not invalidate the authors' research or their conclusions, but it does help me to critically evaluate what they have written. I found that having and sharing knowledge can be a political process, as much as solving a business problem. I expect that having developed stronger critical and strategic thinking skills will be invaluable for me, both professionally and personally.
The process of acquiring an MBA has also helped me to develop additional soft skills. Almost every class involved an opportunity for team building and problem solving. I learned that in some instances it was important to be a team player, and in others, it was necessary to show more leadership. Learning to recognize the difference between scenarios and be somewhat flexible was another important lesson for me.
Courses That Stood Out
BUS 530 Project Management was my favorite class for several…