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An MBA Degree Is Tutor For Life

MBA programmes today are designed to help students develop a global mindset and entrepreneurial spirit

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Possibly the best decision I ever made was to spend two years at the Indian Institute of Management in the 1970s. That choice, to pursue a graduate business degree, changed the entire trajectory of my career and positioned me for success in two different fields.

With an MBA degree, I had the foundational skills for leadership roles in multinational firms as well as in the higher education space, where I am today. My only regret is that I am not able to be an MBA student today! The global opportunities and action-learning that today’s students are afforded didn’t exist when I was in school.

And despite the introduction of new specialty masters’ and alternative graduate degrees over the years, I still believe nothing can prepare a person for future success — be that in business, starting their own venture, or leading a nonprofit — better than the MBA.  

Why? Because MBA programmes today are designed to help students develop a global mindset, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to lead, apart from giving them a rigorous foundation in the business disciplines.

All business is international these days. Even if you don’t end up working abroad, chances are you will be interacting with individuals in other parts of the world, be they colleagues, suppliers, or customers.

Leading business schools develop their curriculum to foster a global mindset. More importantly, the best schools offer their students the opportunity to interact and learn from those of other backgrounds and cultures (both on campus and through international programmes), and tackle real issues that businesses are facing around the globe.

Teaching students to embrace and cultivate their entrepreneurial spirit is another strength of today’s MBA programmes. Even the largest of organisations are seeking employers who act like entrepreneurs in the way they identify and explore opportunities, innovate, and communicate.  
MBA Programmes can not only teach students these skills, schools like the Carlson School now offer students the ability to start a company, complete with access to mentors, networks, and capital while earning their degree.

Finally, MBAs learn how to lead. We put a great deal of research and work into developing the Carlson School’s leadership curriculum so that students graduate prepared to not only lead teams and organisations, but themselves. Through a process of self-examination, feedback, and practice, MBA students graduate with an understanding of their leadership skills and a roadmap for honing them on their career journey.

Whether looking to accelerate a career or make the leap into an entirely different function or industry, I can think of no better choice than to pursue an MBA. The return on that investment in one’s self will yield a lifetime of dividends both personally and professionally beyond any other.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Srilata Zaheer

The author is Dean and Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Global CSR at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis

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