What is an MBA for?
“Good theory helps people to steer to good decisions – not just in business, but in life, too.” -Clayton M. Christensen
What are the degrees of bachelor and master of science business administration for? How about the MBA? Case studies and presentations, workbooks and journals, group assignments and lectures? All pursuing to provide most innovative and novel ideas for managing businesses and leading people.
What did you really learn?
In business school you read and write about marketing, accounting and finance, strategy and organizations, management and leadership. Business concepts come and go like outfits at Hennes&Mauritz. But the fittest of them survive. Like the white dress shirt SWOT analysis will never go out of fashion. Please name another one – you got two seconds!
If you did your MBA at the university it’s easy to remember the parties – the networking part. It’s difficult to name many concepts you learned off the top of your head. Still, the business school definately taught you the language of business, the way of thinking. Depending on the industry you currently work for the real life surely follows the academia severeal years behind. You might have easily left behind the learnings until they reach you in corporate life.
Basic concepts provide clear support for your work and career. As I have seen personally it is beneficial to rehearse the key learnings from the business school. Having real life business challenges at hands one has something concrete to relate to.
Putting the literature in the context of your business and organization and their challenges is usually most fruitful. Once you are hands on with the real life you begin to relate and reflect to the theories you have studied.
I drank more beer during my first four years in the work life
In business school it’s easy to be mistaken about the importance of the studies. In real life business all about relationships. To accomplish the business activities you are involved in, you are dependent on the relationships with the people. Whether they were your internal or external customers, subordinates, team members or superiors.
Businesses care about and nurture their relationships. Customer satisfaction surveys, CRM systems and ever-increasing account managers (a.k.a salesmen) are living proof of how companies seek transformation to be customer oriented.
In the process of writing my own theses, both bachelor and masters, I drifted into a topic of business relationships, partnerships and creating competitive advantage out of them. Very basic but still so complex.
While introducing myself to dozens, or maybe a hundred, of journals and articles I noticed that the theories talk not only about business relationships but they also apply to my private relationship as well.
It took me a while to make that connection. When I first started to swap the words in my mind, I was laughing. Instead of thinking about buyer and seller, company and customer or manufacturer and distributor, I thought about man and woman.
From business to relationship – rMBA
I was deeply buried in the business partnerships, but the thought experiment of replacing “business” with “relationship” took me forward. When this blog moves forward we will elaborate to the connection deeper. Part of the purpose of the blog is to help a business professional to master private life as well as work life.
The blog intended to propel your life in both. Like an eMBA aims to bring further a career of experienced business manager, rMBA is a support function for anyone who believes in power of analytical thinking.
If you didn’t attend a business school, don’t worry. You might as well read the Personal MBA from Josh Kaufman. John has found several same books useful for a person without a formal degree who wants to learn more about business. Many entrepreneurs are self taught and have mastered commercial skills by trial and error. By taking action. That’s what you need to do in a relationship too. To learn about yourself and the significant other. Little theory usually helps to avoid common pitfalls and lets you reflect analytically.
(photo courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net)