The Consortium welcomes guest blogger Nkem Nwankwo, a 2015 Consortium and University of Michigan, Ross School of Business alumnus. He is a product manager at Microsystems, a software company in the Chicago area, and the author of After School: Is Getting an MBA Really Worth It? and the After School Blog.
You said you were probably never going to go back. College is a distant memory now that you’re a few years into your career. You remember the first year out was a little rough, but life seems to have stabilized. All is well, right?
Well, not exactly. Many millennials are doing just fine, but they’re not where they want to be. A 2013 Gallup poll stated that 55 percent of college graduates were not engaged at work. Maybe even more alarming: 16.7 percent of grads reported that they were actively disengaged.
It’s not difficult to speculate why. We’re ambitious people. Every time you open up Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there’s a success story. Your peers are making a difference in the world — either that, or they’re making more money than you. How do you get there?
Sound familiar? It’s a scenario many potential MBA candidates face, but it’s not the only one. Here are some other reasons from my book, After School:
- You feel like you’re underpaid and want a promotion and salary boost. Sharmila said that she came to the realization that she could go back to school for her MBA and more than double her current salary in the entertainment industry. She had to consider getting an MBA.
- You want to move into a new industry or function. Having worked in the nonprofit field for years, Amrita saw she could add strategic consulting to her growing skill set to help develop businesses. The MBA presented a good opportunity to add those skills.
- You want to start a business, but you’re not sure how to get started. Louis was working as a business analyst but had his sights on entrepreneurship and venture capital. Two years in an MBA program would give him the exposure and time needed to break into that world.
- You hate your job and need an excuse to leave. Early in his career in insurance, Olu decided that he wanted to do something more impactful. He was willing to consider getting an MBA to help him make that kind of change.
My personal situation was a combination of the above. In my pre-business school role, I began to ask why certain decisions were being made at a higher level. Now, I can be pretty inquisitive when I want to be, so this should not have been out of the ordinary.
When I realized no one had answers for me, I began to think of ways I could get myself in positions where I could make the decisions. This is when I began to consider going back to school for an MBA.
I was originally planning on going part time, but my friend and mentor asked me to reconsider. She was an alumna of The Consortium and Management Leadership for Tomorrow who thought both programs would be a good fit for me. The rest is history.
It’s completely normal to feel unsatisfied. I’d argue that it means you’re motivated. As you progress, an important thing to realize is that finding your niche is not so much figuring out what you want to do, but figuring out what you don’t want.
I say that to say this: The choice of going back to school is often one of a departure from what you used to do. If you are ready to head down this path, you need to prepare yourself mentally for the fact that getting your MBA means you’re about to head into uncharted territory.
The skills you had before will be important, but you will be expected to operate on a higher level. These days I’m often called on to prove myself, but I like the challenge. That’s why I got my MBA.
You can reach Nkem at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his book at his website.