Wilson Ng started helping the family business since 9 years old. Since then, he had dreamt to be a successful entrepreneur, one who starts great businesses  ( he has started 7) from scratch with insight, guts and initiative. He keeps his focus on growing the business by creating value-- not on politics, or wasteful distractions. He brings the same focus to community service, teaching, life and family.

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  Saturday, November 20, 2004

What Good is an MBA?  ( on business)

After I finish the MBA, so what?  Is it the end of the road?  Or the beginning?

I have a wealth of notes, readings, observations during the MBA days which have been very fruitful that I will want to share.  But since I started blogging at about the same time I finished the program, I will start sharing it more and more in the coming months.

First, I visit the question which I think is of relevance to those that have finished the program, or those that are still contemplating to start.  What good is an MBA degree?

I had different thoughts about it twelve years ago when I was yearning to get one.  I had different thoughts on it almost three years ago when I started the program, and I now have different thoughts on it now that I have finished.  I don't know if my thinking is more relevant to what you want to know, but I am sure I will be more credible and authoritative to sound it off now that I am done with it.  So I am now speaking from first hand experience rather than wishful think.  To sidetrack slightly, it is always good to remember credibility is very important when you are doing business and in all aspects of life.

I have seen many people who think they have had it made when they graduate.  It is as if their days of cultivation is over, and they are now in harvest mode.  In fact, in most parts of Asia, the responsibility of the parent is UPTO when the child graduates from college or university.  After that, you are supposed to be MADE and can be on your own.   That is so far from the truth.  A new degree signals  a new beginning, with emphasis on beginning. The hard work is not over -- it will just be in a different form.  In fact, just like marriage, the romance ( and the challenge)  should just be beginning, not ending.

Many people get a degree, especially an MBA for career employment and promotion.  They don't usually think so, but act as if when they get the degree, their career is made.  This wrong notion will not do damage, but it will hamper the person IF he thinks that getting a degree is more important than learning the skills that the degree represents.

Which essentially brings me to what I really want to say:

Your degree will open a door, but  how far you walked into the door ( which defines your accomplishment and success)  will still depend on what you have inside - your skills , your creativity, your motivation, your initiative etc.

It will open doors in the sense that when you send your CV, people will pick you out easily from other ten applicants who may not have an MBA.  It will open doors in the sense that the manager may be willing to give you five minutes more interview or ten minutes more time to present your case.  But you get that job still because of what you were able to do, or accomplished -- in this case how far you can walk into a door that has been opened. 

By and itself, it is not worth much, except when new.  But if after ten or twenty years of work, if your work does not speak for itself, and all you can still boast about is that MBA you got so many years ago, then it may just highlight an expectation that you were not able to fulfill.  Your MBA opening doors from you should mean that in the next 10 years of your work, you are expected to walk farther into the door than if you have not gotten one.  That would be the true measure of your degree. In short, the value is not how high or far it places you initially, but how far it enables you to move forward.

This is just one aspect.  I wanted the blog to be short, in byte size pieces.  But you will continue to read more on various aspects on technology and business here.

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