Now career development is obviously a major factor in choosing to do an MBA. And Imperial has a careers service that supports you right through the year. I have a dedicated careers coach and access to all sorts of opportunities and resources. And of course the content of the courses will help me in my career. Etc Etc
But I hadn’t realised the stuff I learnt on the MBA would provide careers advice in itself. For example:
Macroeconomics (BTW we do this class mainly as background – it was separated from business econ only this year in the light of the recession etc) – we have been learning about ricardian comparative advantage – usually applied to countries but equally applicable to individual career development. Essentially this fundamental principle of economics suggests that I should devote my time to where my relative opportunity cost is the lowest compared to my ‘competitors’. This sounds sensible enough but often doesn’t happen. I think I’ve spent a lot of the last seven years not playing to my strengths and am resolved to play to my strengths in the future.
Strategy - lots of careers advice here. Firstly industry analysis techniques suggest that I should be finding professions with high barriers to entry – so I need to go places where my MBA is valued and people without MBAs find it difficult. What kind of strategy should I follow? Well I don’t want to be a cost leader – no one wants that I guess, but I need to be a differentiator. But the best advice from strategy class is to focus on your core competences (similar to the comparative advantage point) and also focus on preventing imitators through a hard to copy approach.
Marketing - well the focus on shareholder value in marketing emphasises long term, durable cash flow, and a focus on customer satisfaction. I think this means that I shouldn’t operate a slash and burn strategy, hopping from job to job – but build long term customer (employer) relationships that will reduce the cost of sales (job hunting) and open up new opportunities.
Accounting - what does accounting have to tell me about careers? Well it’s all about depreciation – the cost of assets should be depreciated across their working life. The cost of my MBA, including opportunity costs is into six figures. But discounted across a long period it becomes much more realistic. Key lesson – renew your assets to meet future challenges.
Organisational Behaviour - well there’s been so much careers advice here I don’t know where to start.
I’m beginning to think I need to do something much more interesting than the usual opportunities. I would rather shoot myself in the knee than drift into bureaucratic nonsense. Hmmm, need to think harder about what I want to do when I finish…