Monday, August 9, 2010

MBA series for working adults

Post-graduate studies is something most working adults might comtemplate doing. Many managers or would-be managers  might consider to further their studies albeit on a part time basis while still continuing with their full time employment. There are many MBA options out there and to choose one that suit you might not be a simple task. Some things to consider when embarking on an MBA:

1. Mode of study - Part-time basis, full-time basis or even distance learning which is offered by some online university. There are of course pros and cons to selecting the mode of study options.

2. Time - Time is an important factor when embarking on post-graduate studies for working adults. Especially those that will pursue their MBA while holding down their full-time jobs. Time management plays an important factor and should not be underestimated.

3. Finance - Basically, where the funds are coming from to pay for the studies. For JPA approved MBA courses, you are allowed to tap into your EPF to pay on a monthly or a one-off basis. For those with insufficient funds from EPF or do not intend to use the EPF funds you can pay by cheque or even credit card. I strongly discourage paying with the latter but only if you have the cash to pay off the credit card bills once it is due. Some people do this just to earn some loyalty points instead of writing a cheque to pay the fees. Since most MBA programs allow you to pay the fees on the subjects taken, it would be easier on the fund management end. Again do not under estimate this area as an MBA program can run from as low as RM40k up to RM80k. Hei, some people take a 9-year car loan for a RM40k car. I am not sure whether there is any bank that provide loans for MBA studies. Check this out with your local bank manager.

4. Friends/Family/Loved ones - This area relate closely to time but more on a personal note and not effecting your work life but your personal and social life. Studying as a working adult is a different prospect to younger days. Our lifes revolve around other people. Some are married, some have children and most have a partner or loved ones that share your "spare" time from work which tend to be sparse for most adults. Allocating your "spare" time to studying require understanding from these special people in your life. Therefore, before embarking on the program, share your thoughts with them and make sure to consider their feedback. 

5. Type -There are a few "types" of MBA meaning the way the MBA assess a student. There are programs that is on 100% assignment, others on thesis or paper submission, still others may be a combinaton of assignement, tests and examination. There are different ways to assess ones abilities and understanding of the subject matter and it is up to one to judgement whichever way is the best for their continuing education. I personally prefer assigments and essays or paper submission than to have exams but that is just a personal fear of exams. The important thing is the learning, I believe.

6. Purpose - Suffice to say, many people decide for continuing education to obtain an MBA for many varied reasons and purpose. Most highly in a working adult pupose list  for pursuing an MBA is the paveway for a promotion to higher level management. Some are already senior managers but would like to learn of the latest and best management practise to improve their management skills. Some study to gain an MBA so that they are able to move from one industry to another. This is the case of some managers who have been working at length with one company and are entrenched in their work culture and processes that they might not be able to adapt to perform in other organization. An MBA will provide them with these traits of adaptability. There are also some whom are getting an MBA just for self-esteem and self-actualization.

Whatever your reason, no one is ever too old or too late to acquire knowledge and studies of higher learning will contribute to the growth of our nation when we are moving into knowledge economy. That will be another blog for that.

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