To be honest, I never considered doing an MBA when I was living in Chile. This changed after speaking to a friend, who started an MBA programme in the U.S. Even though his tuition fees and costs of living were considerable, he gave me the following, important advice: (1) All the talk about the importance of networking during an MBA was not just advertising, but something real and tangible. (2) Don’t worry about the money and enjoy the learning experience.
Class diversity is key
Relocating to Germany last year, I decided it was a great opportunity to join the part-time MBA programme at Frankfurt School and now I can say that my friend was absolutely right: The experience of learning from such a large and different group has been overwhelming. Chile is not a very diverse country, but now I get the opportunity to share with people from China to Colombia, from the U.S. to South Africa, all working together as a team towards the same goal. On a personal level, getting to know these wonderful people, who come from entirely different backgrounds and contribute highly valuable insights to class discussions, has given me a lot of perspective, allowing me to recognize different challenges and reminding me not to take things for granted.
Learning to create value together
In the course of an MBA programme, you do not only learn from the professors. Instead, a significant amount of valuable experience comes directly from your classmates. From PhD’s to engineers, bankers, developers and programmers to people who work in retail, cosmetics and consulting: Everyone helps to contribute in areas that may be new to the others and is committed to adding to the level of class discussion with their personal knowledge and professional experience. The assignments, including project work and presentations, are an equally important part of the experience. To mirror everyday business challenges and increase your learning experience, you are encouraged to work in different teams for every module. You get the opportunity to grow by taking steps out of your comfort zone, taking on different responsibilities and working efficiently regardless of limited time, different opinions and personal backgrounds. These interactions challenge you just the right way, helping you to look at situations from points of view you previously may have not considered. Therefore, both the business challenges and growth opportunities provided in combination with the guidance from faculty and the cumulative experience of the class are at the core of the experience.
Looking back at the past five months since starting my MBA, this has turned out to be a great experience and I can definitely say that I am gaining highly valuable expertise to rely upon personally and professionally in the future. Overall, an MBA programme should not only be thought of as an additional business degree, but a life-enriching experience.