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Why MBA - A question asked to me by people, time to time. In this paper, I would like to elaborate and throw some light on the reasons, and my insights on why a person should pursue and acquire an MBA degree. I would also emphasis on the role of education in an individual's life and how proper rational decisions taken from time to time can help an individual in his life.
Right from my early years, I was a lad who was more interested in stock reports than sports schedule; I was very clear of my future prospectus. Although, not being a person who you would see anywhere in the top ranks in academics, or for that matter, would struggle to even pass to get into next grade. But I was very particular about my areas of interest and also where I would like to see myself in the coming future years. After passing my high school, I really wasn't interested in pursuing my academics further but intended to set up a start-up firm of my own. With this vision in my eyes, I laid my first stone towards business shores in the form of a digital media agency, although continuing my academics on a full-time base. After running the business successfully for over two year, my mind was settling on an ideology which didn't consider academics a vital or an equal substance in the recipe for becoming a successful entrepreneur.
From the beginning itself, I was very much aware of my goals and ambitions which I would like to achieve on the short run as well as in the long period. Although my family didn't have any roots as business people, I was very much sure that I would like to see myself as a business person. I, as an entrepreneur wanted to start out early so that I could step into and saturate the business grounds at an early level.
As I approached towards the end of my bachelor program and at the same time evolving the business to an post-startup stage, I felt the need of proper training and modeled knowledge about the various aspects of an company as well as refinement & polishing of my present skills to an level which can be implemented in a practical and best way possible which of all this, only an MBA program could provide me with. An MBA program makes accessible a wide array of skills which are required to stand out in today's business world. It will provide me with not only business as well as management skills but also leadership skills which as an executive are cumulatively required to grow and nurture a business. Although, institutes in my home country where my first choice. I knew that an MBA from an international institute will provide me with the global edge and skill set required for evaluating a firm at an international level. I, as a student have always preferred a practical and rational approach towards things and have believed that knowledge should not just be theoretical but also practical and one which can be implemented in practice. As per my research a MBA program provides in-depth real time knowledge of today's business needs and practices. This was one of the vital reasons why I opted for an MBA program. I prefer a more analytical and wide perspective considering learning practice, which is one reason why I choose learning in the UK rather than my home country which uses a more theoretical learning approach.
An MBA program provides in-depth knowledge about the various aspects of how an firm functions and as well as helps polish skills of an individual, so that one can take up the challenge and perform as a notable manager in his field.
2.1 Learning styles
I would like to talk about the different approaches used by different individuals in order to learn and interpret information and situations and how this approaches can be classified in to different theories and models. Every individual has a different mind-set for learning and implementing different things. Some prefer experimenting more than learning theoretically or accepting information as it is provided and vice-versa. In order to identify and classify such individual learning patterns many learning styles have been originated and put place. Learning styles are nothing but analysis of the way and method of how an individual learns or acquires information and situations. They include methods which are very specific to the way an individual learns. Many people like to learn and interpret in a very similar manner which can be identified. On this ideology, the technique of learning styles was invented in 1970s which gained enormous popularity. *[Pashler, H.; McDaniel, M.; Rohrer, D.; Bjork, R. (2009). "Learning styles: Concepts and evidence". Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9: 105-119.] They included techniques which helped an individual to learn in the best way possible. Many advocates of learning state that the students should be taught and trained in a method and environment which is suitable and preferred by them. Although there is no evidence or fact which proves that such techniques or methods does help the individual in any form. But, many evidences are put forward that prove, using such techniques really doesn't show any significant gain in the learning skills of a pupil. Also significant evidence does exist which proves that, a student can interpret better if he is taught using an learning technique which fits him best which is widely known as "meshing hypothesis" is incorrect and that well-designed study model is better than such methods. *[Pashler, H.; McDaniel, M.; Rohrer, D.; Bjork, R. (2009). "Learning styles: Concepts and evidence". Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9: 105-119.]
There are many types of learning style models. Two examples are:-
David Kolb's model
Honey and Mumford's model
Using one such technique, I am studying and interpreting my way of learning and how can I implement the finding in order to improve and use it in the best way possible for self-improvement. I will be using the Honey and Mumford's model. The Honey and Mumford's model came in to existence in the mid-1970s. It was developed by Peter honey and Alan Mumford. They used David Kolb's model for refining their model for the use of managers in business. Honey and Mumford's learning style questionnaire is one of the most widely used LSQ in the UK government body. *[http://www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk]
In the LSQ, there are series of questions which need to be answered based on this answers, the LSQ helps us to identify our preference. According to my findings with the Learning style questionnaire, I have a very strong preference towards being a reflector where as a strong preference of a Theorist, as well. If I were to self-assess, I do believe I show the qualities of a reflector.
As a reflector, I like to observe and gain experiences from different experiences. I don't generally pond on conclusions in a blink of an eye or rather take my time to analyze and consider different perspectives before stepping on a conclusion. I like to listen to different opinions, suggestions and views of different people and consider them before making decisions. Through data collection and analysis makes a difference to me, on which my decisions are based. I generally listen to people and ideas before presenting mine considering everyone's perspective on it. I as a person prefer a quiet, tolerant and a rational environment around me which makes me more comfortable and brings out the best in me. I am generally a careful, thoughtful individual, who likes a more methodical approach towards things and situations.
Just as there are upsides and downsides for everything, so does my style of learning and judging things and situations. As a reflector, I sustain myself from active or direct participation in situations, which at times is a vital quality which personifies an individual. In many a situations, quick, real-time decisions are to be made which are accounted for, at such times, I fail to step up and come up to active decisions which save the day. On another case, I do not tend to be assertive and forthcoming at times which are one of the vital qualities for a leader and sighting my ambitions, qualities of leadership play an important role in the same. Reflectors in general tend to be more of introverts; they fail to initiate conversations and small talk with others, which again is a very important quality of a leader. Such skills are very crucial for a business person to increase contacts and relations in a business place. Managers at different level have to converse and build relationships with colleagues and employees at both professional as well as friendly level in order to maximize performance and increase the integrity of the team. Such skills are lacked by reflectors. Talking at an academia level, such skills are very important for excelling and acquiring a complete knowledge of an individual's study. I generally tend to sit back and listen to people and not take up active participation in general activities.
As a reflector myself I lack skills which require me to work in teams. In order to be more potential in tasks which require teamwork, I would try taking up activities which emphasis on team work, also participate in team building exercises which promote working in teams. I will take up active participation in decisions and argument in order to increase my skills in conversing with people. In order to succeed and excel in today's business world as a top leader one needs to have a multi-facet range of skills. A leader needs to think as a reflector or a theorist and at the same time perform as an activist. So, in the coming period, I would like to give my actions a more activist approach in order to learn as well as take into practice skills such as active decision making, risk-taking etc. As an activist, a person tends to be very open-minded as well as optimistic about new situations and opportunities. They are risk-takers and have the quality of taking decisions in quick successions which is very much needed skill in today's fast paced industry although at the same time thorough and analyzed decisions are also highly valued. In my future learning, I would like to develop and maturate my core skills which I have evaluated and learned using the Learning style technique and also those which I lack in.
Overall as per my evaluation, using the Honey and Mumford's model
Learning Style Questionnaire I have gained insightful information regarding my learning style and method which I can surely improve and bring into practice using a systematic method. Although there isn't any concrete evidence to support that adopting a particular learning style assessment brings about any change in an individual's learning skills and one such review done by The Association of Psychological Science Commission concluded that there is not enough evidence to justify incorporation of learning style assessments into learning settings and that the resources available should be devoted to the more proven practices. But also that due to the lack of proper study on different learning styles, it will be wrong to state that all learning style assessments are wrong and not adoptable and also that many are yet to be tested. * [Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 105-119. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/journals/pspi/PSPI_9_3.pdf]
Although there must be not enough evidence to prove the worthiness of the Learning style assessments, one thing I would like to urge is that this technique varies from students to students and to some extent can help an individual in self-clarification of what qualities they may have and they lack. It can help in self-enlightenment not in the form of proven method but, spark a critical thinking process which may help in self- development.
3.1 Ambitions revisited
Like it is rightly said by *William Feather," The tragedy is that so many have ambition and so few have ability." After joining the MBA program and understanding and evaluating methods and techniques like Honey and Mumford's model of learning styles. My ambitions have been sharpened and more defined. I can classify my ambitions into specify categories and timelines. Validate them and understand the required skills and potential I require to achieve them in the short term as well as in the long run. In order to be the top manager I wish to be, I need to not only refine my skills as a reflector but also acquire skills of an activist for making swift decisions and when at times required data centric, methodical decisions.
3.2 Implementation tactics
I have plot out an action plan citing my short time as well as long time goals which I would like to achieve in the coming period.
Acquiring the required skills of a successful entrepreneur
An small firm
Scale the firm to a large scale enterprise
Get back In business & work towards it. Hire right individuals.
Small company operational in a very specific and small market area.
Taking it international
Setting up operations in multiple locations.