Fear: Pre-MBA Nerves

This is it. One week away. A full time MBA at Manchester Business School. The trepidation is kicking in big time. Have I done the right thing? Will I end up on top of the world or penniless and jobless in the gutter?The anxiety is probably why I’m sat here at my computer now, spilling my guts to you – the faceless masses. I’m using this blog as my own personal therapy

So here I am. My intention is to use this forum to catalogue the trials and tribulations of a full time MBA student for posterity. Hopefully it will also act as an aid to prospective MBA students of the future, advising and informing them of the peaks and pitfalls they need to be aware of when they have their own choice to make.

The limbo between handing your notice in at your job and actually starting the course is a strange place to be. A no-man’s land between regenerations, punctuated by endlessly having to justify your choice to all and sundry. Anyone who has taken this jump will know that one of the most testing parts of the process is telling friends, colleagues and family of your decision. The responses range from the “What? Are you crazy? How will you survive?” camp to the “Good on you. I wish I had the balls to do something like that.” Luckily for my mental wellbeing, most of them fell into the latter camp although there were a disconcerting number of people who seemed to be convinced that I was running off to become a teacher. And for those of you who are about to tell your nearest and dearest of your choice, please memorise that MBA stands for ‘Master of Business Administration’. You’ll get asked that a lot.

“What will it involve?” is another popular question. A shedload of work seems to be the simple answer. MBS have spent a lot of the run-in managing our expectations, bigging up the amount of pressure and the weight of workloads that will be thrown on our shoulders as soon as they have us in their clutches. Working days of 9am to 9pm (at least) are said to be the norm with minimal time for outside distractions. I don’t think I’ll mind the hard work (having come from a client service background I have a lot of experience in working long hours to turn things around at short notice for demanding bosses). My main concern is having enough time with my young family. My hope is that I will be able to work effectively from home, allowing me to get back and put them to bed before scraping my nose on the grindstone again.

So why am I doing it? Throwing away a decent, well paying job to become a soap-shy, scrounging student once more? This is a question that I have asked myself and been asked copious times since I began this personal journey. There are a myriad of reasons for this decision. The usual rationalisations are what I tend to tell people: Upskilling, building contacts, giving myself the best chance to rocket up that greasy pole. However, at its beating heart, I think the voice that keeps growling “do it” into my psyche is driven by the desire to pull myself out of that mental rut; to feel something again; to experience something new every day; to buzz off the constant challenges thrown up by the course and my new colleagues from all over the world.

If you’re not careful, life rattles past you at a rate of knots. Sometimes you’ve just got to slow it down.

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