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Journey to my MBA

Thursday, July 08, 2004

GMAT Studies and Question 1 of Why an MBA for me

Finally finished all Quant in the Official Guide. Geez that took awhile. My speed and knowledge of tricks are definitely improving. I'm so glad. I was quite worried about my performance. Still very much am, but I have more confidence now. I've been doing some reviews of questions on various study material I've gone through in the past that I got wrong the first time through and I look at some of the problems now and I'm like, "Oh thank goodness that problem looks easy" or "I know how to solve that!" I'd say that since I've started I've seen the following amounts of improvement
PS 40%
DS 25%
SC 20%
RC 40%
CR 65%

I'll feel alot better when I can say my improvement is 90%-100%. Ideally, I think I would need to be saying 125% before I feel like I could pull off a 700+. I have 22 days to go before my test date. Ah Yah!

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about the benefit of an MBA for me. I think the hardest interview I've had was when my wife asked me, "Why do you think you want to do it?" I didn't have a slam dunk answer for her because I couldn't articulat it well enough. We'll it's going to take a few journal entries to explain it, but I'll start by answering a few questions. The first question. "What have your IT experience shown you about who you are?"

I've found that I like to take any environment that I come into and improve it at all levels. From a technical stand point, I'll take and create previously non-existant Disastery Recovery plans, create improved support structure where Servers aren't touched except for during agreed upon maintenance windows and support agreements between different IT groups to assure positive end-user experiences with internal IT. I actively look for tools and tricks to improve processes that aren't efficient or require high levels of micromanaging. For example, I taught myself how to script and combine tools to automate things. Now, you have to remember, I've never taken a computer course in my entire life. Not in college, high school or post-college. (We'll until recently, I took a couple, but I paid for them myself) I've never had training classes that helped me towards any of my computer certifications. I've self studied and obtained all my qualifications by learning on my own. That has its benefits and drawbacks. Obviously a lack of efficient use of time is one drawback, but the painful lesson here is that I have found myself in a rather senior level of abilities with everything learned from the school of tinkering and testing. So I'm constantly training others or helping others to improve their troubleshooting skills. I find that wherever I go, I end up being the go to guy. Something goes wrong and I'm the first one asked to fix it or to find out what happened and then to explain the situation to non-technical folk or to my managers. These are just a few qualities of my background, but what they go to show are that I'm self-sufficient and considered very knowledgeable about the inner workings all technical areas and how they inter relate to one another. On the other hand, I also find that I place a lot of pressure on myself to be the best at what I do. I always like being in the "know". It bothers me when I can't figure something out or the environment isn't managed well. Managing an IT environment well is very tricky. Managing well means, knowing what is going on before end-users notify you something is wrong. It means, advance notification of potential problems are foreseen. It definitely means implimentation is done seamlessly and with enough efficient planning that major problems are headed off at the pass instead of back tracking. This requires having a Plan A, Plan B and C. Even a plan D at times.

From a people perspective, I find managing IT staff is one of the most poorly performed jobs in most companies. IT Staff are overworked and are asked to work the crappiest hours and so are the managers. Training is a backburner issue or get's thrown out of the budget time and time again. At Home Depot for example, a place I almost took a part time job at recently requires 2.5 hrs of training for every 40 hrs worked. They have an immense database on computer based classes as well as hands on classes done by vendors all the time. I've never seen such levels of quality being built into staff in the IT world. For this reason, I have a track record of creating what I call, "what's coming down the pipe" seminars that I do with desktop technicians, help desk folk, project managers and fellow technical staff. It's not that I know the answers to everything. It's really about bringing in the right people to do the needed information to plan and provide feedback where necessary. I even went so far as to go and get a Microsoft Certified Trainers License to help people understand how serious I was about investing into people and that knowledge is key before attempting things people don't know anything about. That's one key reason why I believe an MBA is key for me as well. I believe education is the foundation or tool for change.

I've also created a track record of mentoring all staff I work with on troubleshooting and technology. Again, it's not I who does all the mentoring, it's that I create a base of doing it regularly where I too get mentored in areas I'm unfamiliar with. Lastly, I have constant frustration over the lack of technology being put to good use. I constantly see areas where technology has gone overboard or not enough and the business pays dearly for the poor decisions. I've made some of my own mistakes too, but not at the strategic levels.

So from a technical and people perspective, you'll see that I have a track record that continues to show me that I have a high degree of influence to make change. I define leadership as one word. "Influence" I don't seek to broadcast that I have all the answers,but I do feel that I have a knack for creating good business processes or environments whereby the right people talk to the right person. I have a keen eye for well done or poor strategic planning and good implimentation as well as people awareness to know that my contributions to a business need to be more than they are. These are some underlying reasons why I would like the MBA. I would like to put myself in alignment to be able to make valuable contributions that make organizational vertical impact.

We'll, this is scatter brained I know, but as I'm not writing a B-school essay, this will have to do.
My next question that I'll answer will follow in the next couple of days. I need to go to sleep now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt very happy after reading your thoughts. I am also in the same boat. I myself had over 12 years and constantly think that I am capable of doing more. At present, I am thinking of pursuing my MBA. I myself wonder why I have to do it now? Is my experience count? I am thinking myself MBA will provide good expertise and able to advance in my career to apply my thoughts in working (able to influence large number of people). I think, I go on and on. I really appreciated your article.

With Best Regards

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Finally , I got the answer for the big question that why I am chasing my MBA dream despite taking back seat in many attempts during graduation.
I am happy that I have clarity of thought and a way to prove myself.

Thanks Friend :)

2:45 AM  
Blogger Vijeta said...


I am lucky to have read your blog.This blog is the center of MBA n Beyond. I've really felt ,how globalization works.I really enjoyed n got an idea how it must to go to place like Wharton and get the thing out in a state of excitement ,panic n pressure. It was amazing to read this.And, I hope there'll be more from u hear :)


2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really clear now to see ur posting, before 1 week i have inquire about online mba program in i was just having few more dough . Because in India online mba is new for market . I was little worried but now,i decided to take online mba. i cant take regular mba in any college because i am holding already 8 years of experience thats y . i have read many articals about online degree how to choose an college. in they have counseled me very well .there is no sales trend used . they are very friendly.

6:02 AM  

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