Return On Investment

edited4

Finishing an MBA and not ever think about ROI is unheard of. They hammer that thought into your deepest layers in your brain and you start thinking everything in terms of what value it brings, you bring, they bring to the table, what is the cost of the opportunities you have lost along the way, what is the cost of doing business. While you balance your strengths and weaknesses like a pro, you seize the opportunities and bury the threats skillfully. You memorize the 5 freaking forces a guy named Porter had thought years ago and probably did not ever dreamed that it was going to be taught class after class every semester like it was something new each time.

You can look at a case study and talk non-stop about why the business idea failed for 30 minutes after it had happened 20 years ago, and wonder how in the world these people got hired as a C-level managers if they could not think of that!  Because you know, we sure will not be making that mistake ever when we are finally at that level!

With all the kidding aside along with its quirks and moments of eye-rolls, being in an MBA program was a good experience, one that I wanted to have. I just was not ready for constant question of “So what is next? Do you think you got your money’s worth?” Was it worth the investment? That is the main question on anyone’s mind when they think of this overused education level.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea when I will break even when you figure in all the cost that went into it. I have no idea if one day, my case study of saving a company from a doomed ending or of running a company to the ground will be read in classes. It was a journey with my classmates and I have some friendships that will, hopefully, last a lifetime. I had experiences abroad that I would not change for anything else and I would not have otherwise convinced myself to take on if it were not for this program. Also, after seeing typical MBA focus areas, I am pretty sure what I do NOT want to do – which is a great thing even if  the road ahead is still a bit blurry.

One thing is for sure – in education and in any other area – the worthiness of something is what you think it is. It is not the breakeven point, it is not the money you recoup, it is not the gain after you apply some fancy formula. It is the value you think you have, whatever that means to you. The value is such a broad description and sometimes you can not tag a dollar amount to it. For me, I needed this two year break and do something because I wanted to, learn to think in a way I was not accustomed to. Take the classes I wanted because they were interesting not because I had to. Have sleepless nights for projects because the topics I chose were dear and near to me.

I read a commencement speech by David Foster Wallace, and I thought “that is it! That is what education is supposed to do, supposed to teach”. Somebody put my lingering thoughts into useful words.

“It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

“This is water.”

“This is water.”

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.”

 

So yes people, it was worth the investment. And no people, I do not have a clearly defined MBA-path that leads up to the C-suite. With more gray hair and wrinkles around my eyes, I am just excited to see what unfolds next. More aware and alive than ever.

 

2 Comments:

  1. by John@Kitchen Riffs
    10:44 pm
    May 26, 2015

    Congrats on getting your MBA! We’ll be interested and excited to see what unfolds next, too. ;-)

  2. by Irene B.
    8:00 pm
    Jun 19, 2015

    Congratulations on your MBA…..!!!!!!

*: required fields

Leave a Comment

Read the fine print

By submitting a comment you grant Ilke's Kitchen a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate and irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin’s discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.