Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hello! Kannichiwa! Ni hao!

While I did mention various upcoming MBA fairs and recruitment events in my last post, I failed to provide much detail. My initial post last week was written from Tokyo, Japan and today I’m coming to you from Beijing, China (with a quick trip to Shanghai, China in between). I’m currently in the midst of a three week trip throughout East Asia as a part of The MBA Tour. It’s quite an exciting experience, being in a new city (or country) every other day for another event!

The MBA Tour is an excellent resource for students considering business education. The event includes various panel discussions of admissions representatives from a number of top business schools to discuss how admissions decisions are made, how to manage your career search, the opportunities for women in business, and others. Some cities also include alumni panels as well as individual school presentations. Each event culminates with a two-hour MBA fair that includes some of the top MBA programs from around the world. As you can tell, these events can be quite beneficial and provide a wealth of information about the opportunities for an MBA. Again, I would encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities throughout the United States and the world as you are researching and applying to business school.

An added benefit of the MBA Tour from the perspective of admissions representatives is the opportunity to take advantage of professional and cultural activities as we travel. Today I visited Google China with a group of colleagues to meet with some of the executives and employees. It was quite interesting to hear the perspectives of their leaders, especially given Google’s recent challenges in China.

In talking with the employees of Google China, we spent quite a bit of time discussing the value of an MBA and the benefits it can provide. These are popular topics with potential MBA candidates, especially those considering a career change. An MBA is not merely a credential, nor should it be treated as one. Rather, it is a way of thinking and approaching situations. Throughout the MBA experience, you will be challenged to think differently, across all aspects, and consider as many factors as possible. Rather than focusing on one particular aspect of a problem or situation, you will learn to take into account multiple solutions and think analytically in order to come to the best conclusion. These points may sound somewhat general in nature, but that is also the essence of the value and benefit of the MBA being useful across disciplines and in all industries, even in daily life itself. In addition to gaining broad technical knowledge and building skills in leadership and team dynamics, the MBA experience changes the way you approach situations. Many candidates are looking for a better career outlook and an MBA can help with that, but even more so, it changes your outlook. An MBA not only helps to advance your career, it also enhances your life.

As you think about the MBA, I would encourage you to really focus on how it will not only help you professionally, but also consider how your life will change. Consider not only the technical skills you will take away but also how the overall experience will build upon what you have learned in your career up to this point. Take time to truly think about these points and why you may be pursuing an MBA. It’s always hard to find extra time to just sit and think about things like this, but doing so will not only help you clarify your goals and focus, but outlining these things will help you tremendously when it comes time to write your application essays! Again, we can get more into the specifics of essays and other aspects later, but for now, schedule time to think about these things. You’ll be surprised how clear your path and next steps may become!

Here are a few pictures from my time in Asia thus far. I’m looking forward to sharing more again soon! Enjoy!

Meiji Jingu (a Shinto shrine) and the Tokyo skyline

Entry to the Peninsula Hotel Beijing and our group at Google China


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