AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Ramblings on small mindedness.

I’m done with another test review for Tuesday’s Final exam. Can’t wait till I “write” my exam (hehe). Oh, the date for the get together is Aug 21st now. Anyone still interested, let me know. Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego folks ok!

I don't try to write potentially controversial issues, but I'm pretty passionate about this one. So, here goes....

I had lunch not too long ago with a close friend recently and he shared with me how he feels so left behind. People around him are quickly getting married, having kids, getting a house, advancing their careers and some are making some serious money. Many, it seems have made very serious career choices and progress that makes him wholeheartedly envious. To some extent though, we all feel that way. Anyway, one major point was how he was seeing that education is the key to career growth. I practically knocked him upside his head as I retorted how many times I kept telling him this over the last 3 years.

No matter what we do in life, it requires a level of education/learning that is either formal or informal. In the case of work… it is almost always based on formal education whether it’s a certification or advanced degree like an MBA. Many of you who might be reading this and are planning on applying to Business School have already realized this. Bravo to you!

Interestingly, it seems Asian countries like India, Korea, China and Japan all realized this long ago. Their development of Math and emphasis on quality learning is ingrained deeply into their cultures. Tutors, illegal or not like in Korea, are used by anyone that can afford them. I was telling someone just this afternoon how it’s a bit different here in the U.S.. Generally, to admit that one is using a tutor at nearly any age up to high school is almost like admitting your stupid, despite the fact that the reasons may be due to A.D.D. or some other disorder that you can’t blame the individual for.

Even with the GMAT, there is this stigma about how one prepares for it. If you’re smart, you don’t use them. Even if you get accepted to a top MBA School and others hear that you used a prep school, there is this, “Oh, well no wonder” kind of response. “Well, they got help!” The truth though is that if they did get in, we’ll start thinking…. Hmmm, I hate to admit it, but maybe I should as well. But, due to cost we may get held up and not do it.

I, however say, that we should forego certain hang ups with cost and just bite the bullet. If the average MBA student graduates with a 30-40% increase in their yearly salary… how does that not pay for the few thousands dollars up front? In India or Korea, nearly everyone who can afford it or who might need it, get a tutor or outside help. It’s common knowledge and there’s nothing negative about it other then the envy that comes from those who can’t afford them. Why then might we have a problem with getting help like that here in the U.S.? Our academic culture here is definitely upside down compared to the Asian countries.

Now, if some don’t need a prep school, fine…. But we ought to remove our own personal discrimination against ourselves or others who do. Don’t you think?

I propose that one reason is that we might be suffering from being small minded. Being small minded is where one makes short term decisions that ignore the long term benefits. At one company I know about, there was a SPAM e-mail project that was victim of this. It was found that the average corporate employee spends between 4-12 seconds per SPAM in reviewing it and then deleting it. Moreover, the average employee received between 15-25 SPAM’s per day. Take the cost of the employee’s salary and divide that over the time to delete SPAM e-mail and multiply that over 2500 employees. This ends up costing the company over $200,000 dollars per YEAR! So when a small minded engineer and CIO who were close friends made a decision to forego the $17,000 cost to put in an enterprise class solution with a $5,000 yearly maintenance cost… I was floored. They put in a solution that cost $1,500 that only caught 45% of the SPAM. The one that was researched by other engineers caught 90% of SPAM. Moreover, after implementing the “cheap” solution, they found that they had to hire a full time person to sit there and “release” e-mails being caught in the queue because the cheaper solution was not blocking SPAM, but blocking legitimate e-mail because it’s catch algorithm was based on key words in e-mails like Viagra vs source domains that were known to be SPAM sources.

Time and time again, I see this. I’m so fed up with small mindedness. Small mindedness will destroy a company’s revenue because of short sighted profit decision making. I doubt top Business Schools want to hire such short sighted thinkers. Getting a good deal up front is not always a good thing!


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