Not very long ago I was this timid and confused 20 year old who dreamt of taking the world in my stride. I knew I had it in me what I was confused about was the how part. Every time my dad would tell me as to how I was taking a lot of things for granted I would sneer back,” Just wait and watch!” and then he would ask the inevitable “How?” and I would draw a blank.
Fifteen years of doing something and now being at a phase where it all seems questionable is not a situation one wants to be. And surprisingly enough most of my friends were pretty clear about the way forward. One of them wanted to go ahead with a MS degree in s fancy abroad university, other was joining father’s business and the third one was preparing for competitive exams. And then there was me, who was sitting in one corner confused about everything around her at that moment.
Our education system is such I believe, it lacks somewhere in preparing a student for the future that awaits him/ her. Moreover somewhere I believe that the bookish knowledge imparted to us felt so wrong at that moment, for it never prepared me for the real world. It just told me the ideal situation and the way to face it. It never showed me how to face situations which are far from being ideal and yet have to be dealt with.
I was frustrated to an extent where now it was leading to being depressed about things. That is when a very kind teacher of mine came to my rescue. She taught me the rule of SWOT and showed me how applying this Golden Rule to all problems of my life would lead to optimum results.
SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. She asked me to divide the page into four segments titled like these and write whatever came to my mind when I thought of my current scenario. So began my exercise.
- Equip myself with a masters degree
- Improve my job prospectus
- Gear me up to face the competitive world
- Loss of time in pursuing education further.
- Lack of proper options available within the reach
- Improper facilities of getting admission
- Entrance exams
- 2 years of rigorous on the job training along with your education preparing you for the reckless world awaiting you outside the warm corridors of your house.
The moment I made this list I was more than clear what I wanted to do next – MBA. I was so thankful to that teacher for having brought me to this conclusion. I felt as if half the battle was won but it wasn’t. I was wrong. The battle had actually just started and there were many such stages before I could finally scream my lungs out “I won!”
I deterred from celebrating my victory and began my work back to the thing where I had started. Having concluded that I need to do an MBA wasn’t enough for me to start working on it. I am sure each one of us faces this crisis situation sometime of the other in life leading to all chaos and the only thing being clear remains confusion. At that moment a lot of things came to my rescue, sharing 5 top most things that helped me not only sort out my mind but also become stronger in my determination of doing an MBA in Finance.
Amidst all the views and opinions given by many people adding onto my confusion the most prominent things that I could jot down were to understand why I wanted to do it and how well do I think would it help me all the way till my goal. The moment these questions came to my mind I realized how wrongly analyzed is this whole issue otherwise as people end up pursuing further education for some very illogical reasons leading to a sense of dissatisfaction in their minds despite completing it successfully.
It is very imperative to pursue education with a preconceived mindset about your expectations. It helps you have a better sense of understanding in terms of the future prospects and leads to the answer the most important question of life – what do you want from life ultimately! I, who at that time was all confused managed to find some really relevant answers after a long inner battle and today after all these years when I look back I see it with a sense of pride in all that I did to reach here for I can easily say I achieved all that I wanted to at this stage of life, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my masters degree.
It helped me shape my thoughts and actions in a manner that was the need of the hour. It was one of the most crucial decisions of my life, something on which my whole future depended at least for the time being and which was going to be a very decisive factor into how and what my future was going to be. Having faced such a huge dilemma then, now I feel it was all worth the analysis for it led to where I was supposed to be.
Had it not been for that confusion I would have maybe just been one of the herds and followed the herd mentality did something because everyone else was doing it too without any logic or reasoning behind it. I am really glad I underwent this exercise to reach this conclusion for it helped me pave my way for my future in a manner that none could till then. In this article I will try and capture the essence of the whole exercise I underwent leading to my masters.
- Why MBA? – In an attempt to find an answer to this Why I must have spoken to more than a dozen people. In those days social networking wasn’t so active hence I had to make do with friends, acquaintances, kids of my parents’ colleagues, teachers, seniors… I spoke to everyone I could think of to understand what they felt. Each one of them shared their valuable inputs but at the end of the day it was only me who could answer this question the way it was supposed to be. All of them put together could not do it for me.
I observed that many of them were stagnant in their careers after reaching a particular position and on investigating it was found that their HR felt that people holding masters degrees were capable of handling jobs of higher posts with much ease compared to the ones who were holding only graduate degrees. Further even when it came to promotions, salary hikes and other such employee benefits people with higher education beyond the graduation were considered more than the others. This had led to a lot of bitterness no doubt but then they had no avail as not having worked for almost 8-10 years they were scared of quitting it all and going back to studies to ensure masters degrees. Moreover they weren’t sure if that would really help them the way they envisaged it.
I concluded that this is something that I wouldn’t want to take a chance on. Career was very important and so was growth. Career building could wait for two more years as I slogged on my degree but my growth couldn’t wait for something that currently was of utmost importance.
- Where do you see yourself five years down the line (short term career plans)?
Every time someone asked me this I would draw a blank. But then I realized this question held the key to the most crucial decision of my life. After a lot of mind rattling thoughts I tried framing my thoughts: I see myself in a mid-level position where I am an important support system for the team, I grow with the organization and learn all that I can applying the knowledge I have gathered till now. Not many people can boast of being in this league unless they have some fancy degree to back them up. So here we come back to question no. 1 which makes it imperative for one to have studied beyond the graduation and gained a masters degree.
- Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line (long term career plans)?
Beyond 10 years I see myself heading a team in a large corporate, using my expertise in driving the organization towards its goals, guiding the new team members in acclimatizing with the organization’s working patterns and evolving myself as a dependable team leader in terms of outputs.
I clearly see that I would want to gain experience in one of those MNCs or any of the leading Indian corporate to ensure my basics of work are crystal clear in terms of challenges, obstacles and yet having developed the ability to find a work around for the same.
This conclusion once again emphasized the importance of an MBA as that would help me sharpen my managerial skills at the same time help me gain some of those leadership abilities which were required for such work profiles.
- How well equipped are you currently to achieve the same?
Maybe 25-10%. That’s how equipped I felt at this moment towards the fulfillment of my either goals with my current education and mental frame.
- How do you think this degree will equip you to achieve them?
100% that confident I was of achieving what I wanted to after having finished my MBA as I believed I would have gained all the necessary guidance through this course making me befitting enough to face the challenges that would come my way, turn them into opportunities and make the most of them.
Now I was thoroughly convinced that the answers to all my questions lay in only one thing MBA and how it would ensure everything else would get workable.
Today as I share these things with you, I understand how important this moment is as one decision can make or mar your careers. Hope my words help you see through the things which till now were looking opaque.