MBA for Executives …. life changing or no?

Perhaps like me, many executives interested in advancing their career are faced with the same question …. should one consider further higher training and at what cost? Does an MBA bring the required reward? So in your analysis you see the glossy brochures and you do the web-research and it all looks good… no? Many ROI calculations later, the answer still may not seem any clearer.

Like many Alumni I was very proud of London Business School’s recent Achievement as the number one program for Executives fourth year running. What has this accilade meant for me?

2011 …. having reached the top of my career in Medicine … I faced that question faced by many executives…. what’s next ? Its usual in other career lines to think about an MBA at the start or mid career… for Doctors the road is not as well travelled.

So let me share my story some 4 years after completing the London Business School Executive MBA Program. Where did this decision lead me?

A key aspect of the London Business School program is that it is part-time, so executives can lead continue work whilst partaking in the program. Which is what I did, travelling to London was much easier for me, being based in the Midlands at the time. Unlike some students who caught regular flights to make it to class.

An advantage of the LBS MBA is that it provides a dual-site program. One Executive class was made of two groups, one based in Dubai and one in London. There was regular mixing of the groups with the convenience afforded by the program to allow executives within the region to be based in proximity to their work. So the London Campus with in Regent’s Park and the Dubai Campus at Dubai International Financial Centre. As a result attendees from afar, for example, from South Korea and Africa could partake in the executive program whilst continuing their work.

An important question for me, when choosing the MBA program was whether to stay niche and aim for a Medical MBA program (not offered at LBS). The advantage of undertaking a generic MBA program rather than one based around one field is that is allowed me to forge partnerships with people outside my field. This was especially important when I wanted to approach the Dubai Government with a Health Care innovation based around programming and Artificial Intelligence.

It is the edge of boundaries of separate disciplines, when the boundaries overlap sparks ideas and moves branches forward.

Nothing will happen if you are a passive bystander hoping for opportunities with or without a MBA. For the new entrant to a field the MBA provides the tools for the future. For the executive MBA entrant rubbing shoulders with similar executives is a serious advantage one should be ready to avail onself to. So, it is up to you at business school to develop your network and to develop the friendships that could one day be mutually beneficial for ones future direction.

I always tell prospective students, one can accumulate educational material and try to learn MBA concepts without paying hefty fees. However it is the discussion the MBA program brings that is the added value of a tier one MBA school. The opportunity thus afforded works on one’s capabilities affecting managerial and leadership qualities.

My move to the Middle East and in particular to Dubai was galvanised as a result of my exposure in the MBA program to Dubai classmates. Also attending classes at the LBS hub at DIFC Dubai allowed me an experience that inspired me to the next step. This then forged the relationship with colleagues such as Waqas Mirza, director at Avanza solutions. You can read more anout this collaboration in my other post.

One important piece of advice for the exec MBA … don’t expect a life change straight after your program … instead envisage that this will happen in at least two steps if not more. Whilst undertaking the porgram, I was appointed on board of Non-Executive Boards in the UK NHS CCG. The MBA program was key to these appointments.

The career support provided by the school is very important if you are interseted in gaining the necessary networks allowing you to move sideways or upwards. For the London Business School program the strength of the executive career program was in finance and banking. As the scope of the backgrounds of the Executive MBA’s becomes more widespread at the school then the Career program will have to adjust accordingly.

An immediate area of benefit of the Executive MBA was to the Volunteer work I provide for a charity running a Not for Profit NGO in North Pakistan … Midland Doctors. I achieved a distinction in Marketing in the MBA program and this I used applying to the areas of marketing strategy and digitial entreprenuership. The hospital , which I help to manage on a charitable basis, is therefore also a postive recipient of the life skills I have attained at London Business School