Do you need to have an MBA to be a successful businessperson?
It is perhaps an out-dated idea that an MBA opens doors and shoots you up the corporate ladder, and maybe it’s simply not true any more….
This week I graduate with an MBA and I think I started on the course because I had an aspiration then to develop my business capabilities and, being completely honest, I liked the sound of having more letters after my name. Now I have those letters and it doesn’t really make a fig of difference. What does make a difference is the incredible amount I have learned and how the course has made me a better leader and manager. It certainly hasn’t taught me everything nor do I get things right all the time but I make better decisions, I am more aware of my limitations and liabilities and I have a greater ability to overcome those limitations.
My course was with the Open University and their flexible learning approach backed up with solid academic staff and content has enabled me to complete this postgraduate qualification whilst constantly applying it to my work environment.
I started when I was at Rambert and it changed me from someone who did admin to someone who managed. I continued when I worked for the Arts Council and the course enabled me to start to see the strategic context and apply it to public sector activity. When I moved back home to Cornwall, it was a vital connection with my old (successful) life in London which I missed hugely initially. And when I started the business, the course gave me external perspectives which I would not otherwise have had and these gave me an overview that I couldn’t see on my own.
One of the most valuable things has been bouncing ideas and challenges off others studying for the same objectives, people who have no agenda, no interest other than academic and no personal involvement in the outcome. In reverse, this sharing of challenges and issues in a completely confidential environment has enabled me to recognise that I am not alone, that my brain adds value and perspective to situations, and that there is always value in exploring difficult problems with others.
So the value of an MBA today is not about getting further up that corporate ladder (in my opinion) but rather about continuing the learning and development of myself as a business person, as a leader and as a human being. And yes, that sentence would feature in my speech were I ever to win Miss World…..
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky Events