I graduated from the Executive MBA program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business this last spring. Earning an MBA was an aspiration of mine since I was a child. If I could have gone to business school right after kindergarten, I would have. The idea of business always fascinated me. It encompassed so many facets of the world order that I often fantasized about. Leadership, Finance, Economics, Mathematics, Public Speaking, Vision, Strategy and Competition. The root I always felt though was people. It all boils down to people. You have a product which serves a need that people have. Even B2B businesses have a person when you get to the end of the line. So in essence, I believed that understanding the world of business would mean understanding people. All of this, I knew before I went into business school. It was a somewhat juvenile way of looking at the business world. As I went through the process of pinning those three magical, long awaited letters behind my name, my world view matured and I started seeing business differently. My views on leadership evolved. My understanding of Finance, Economics, Strategy, Competition – all became much more polished.
As I went through courses, I learned not only from my professors, but from my peers in class and even more so from my study team mates. Their lives and careers gave them different perspectives that frankly, my juvenile brain failed to comprehend at times. Being one of the youngest students in the Executive MBA program meant that just about everyone had seen more life and profession than me. Saying that I found gaps in my professional skillset would be highly inaccurate. They were more like sinkholes. While the classroom made these sinkholes apparent, all the ingredients to fill these sinkholes were also within arms reach. I just had to mix the ingredients and get filling.
Over the last 2 years, I managed to learn a lot of new things but what we learn (and more importantly, what we retain) is not only a product of what interests us, but also what we do for a living. As a management consultant, I often find myself staring down the barrel of a business problem. I am expected to find answers to questions my clients are not equipped to answer. My profession keeps me on my toes in terms of finding the latest and greatest in business and management practices. So as I went through business school, my laser focus was on identifying things that a business has to do well fundamentally in order to be successful.
On this thread, I plan on documenting what I distilled out of each course within my 2 years of business school for myself and honestly, anyone else that cares about my humble opinion.