IE Business School Online Masters
Novel Tjahyadi
January 25, 2009

We finally did it! Yes, after 13 grueling months of study, we earned our MBA on an admitedly pretty impressive and well-organized ceremony last month in Madrid. Hundreds of graduates from several Master programs, including ours, International Executive MBA (IxMBA), graduated on the same day. It was a big crowd. On that memorable festive, I saw nothing but a big smile on everyone’s face, although I was not too sure how to interpret those smiles. Perhaps, for some, it was a genuinely happy smile. For others, however, it was just a bitter smile. A smile of pessimism…

We witnessed the air of excitement and the pride of being a new member of the prestigious IE and MBA alumni. But unfortunately, the excitement lasted only for a little while. The moment we stepped out of the ceremony, everyone knew that a reality was awaiting ahead of us. A reality that we all have to face. How would our MBA be worth amid the global crisis? For many, a big question drums into our heads. How long would we have to wait until we start to see a return from this expensive investment amid this downturn? (Good for those who had received sponsorships, as this might not concern them as much as it does to those who paid the MBA out of their own pockets or loans.) Or, would we ever see an ROI at all?

Sadly, we completed our MBA at an extremely rough period. Everyday all we see is heartbreaking news: companies lay off hundreds or thousands of their workforce, firms stop hiring, banks tighten loans, stock prices slump…. Lucky for those who got promotions after their MBA these days, whilst many can only hope and pray they can keep their jobs. What does this all mean to us? Does an MBA degree still make any sense these days?

I have to admit I regret completing my MBA in this time of the year, BUT I never regret my decision of doing the MBA at all… no matter what. For sure, I would have expected a better economic and financial situation than this when I passed out, whereas I could possibly have gotten more options… an option to demand a raise or a promotion, an option to swing my career as I had always wanted, an option to enter an entrepreneurship world… an option that we all had dreamed of before we commenced our MBA.

Left with very few options, what can we do now? Sitting and waiting? Naah… For the sake of encouraging my own self and all MBA wanna-bes out there (I mean you!), my only advice is simple: be optimistic! It is true that options are now limited, yet I would never imagine my resume without an MBA these days where competitions are getting even tougher and younger! Like companies, we should never stop brushing up our competitive advantage. It’s the key for survival.

If you are one of many people who are reasonably in doubt whether you should postpone your decision on participating in an MBA course, perhaps you should think again! Albeit the recession, there are still many good reasons why you should start your MBA course now. To name the few:

  1. In the class, you will have the opportunity to learn from this downturn and learn from others’ failures and mistakes in the financial industry, etc. Believe me, this could well be a priceless learning experience.
  2. Networking (you’ve heard this many times, so I won’t elaborate).
  3. As I said earlier: competitive advantage (yeah, how I like this term from our Strategy class!). Prepare yourself for the upturn. There is nothing more rewarding when you know you are more knowledgeable than before.

After all, MBA is an education. It is an asset that does not recognize age nor recession. If you are one of those people who always have the thirst for self-development, don’t be put off by the crisis. Just do it!


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