The MBA Mindset

Two weeks into the Manchester MBA and the promised wave of work still hasn’t fully broken onto our heads yet. I’m certainly busy but still have enough time to record these reflections for you.Today’s musings are based on some observations I made about the difference in mindset one has to adopt when moving from the working environment into the full time MBA.

The first thing that struck me was how the ghost of procrastination past can return to haunt you, transporting you back to your undergraduate days when it was all too easy to put that assignment off until the last minute. At work, with everyone buzzing around you, your team pushing you for guidance plus constant pressure from clients with short deadlines you automatically slip into a productive mentality, churning out task after task until it hits 6 o’clock and you’ve ticked off everything on your list. Back here in the academic environment you require much more self-motivation. The ambience in and around places like the library is less febrile than the workplace. You settle in to do a little reading but it’s not long before the shiny new iPad that MBS have given us starts to talk to you, weaving its seductive magic:

“Just a quick check of the email….”

“What’s the latest news on the BBC?”

“Let’s just download that app that my classmate showed me…..”

Before you know it, it is time to rush off to the next lesson and that case study will have to wait until later.

Linked to this is the fact that you are now completely accountable for your actions. At work, it didn’t matter if your day was good, middling or completely unproductive, you could always console yourself that you now had an extra £x in your pocket so it wasn’t completely wasted. As an MBA student the only time you squander is yours. The flip side of this is that all the work you do is for yourself. There are no client or senior management red herrings to chase. You can decide what you need to do to achieve your goal – whether that is securing that lucrative internship, achieving that distinction or simply immersing yourself in the stimulating learning environment – and put the necessary effort in to accomplish that.

I guess what I’m saying is that, if you’re thinking of doing an MBA, you’d better be sure you’ve got a healthy dollop of self-discipline in your locker. If you’re the type of person who runs after ice cream vans then MBA life is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you can combine the self-restraint of a trappist monk and the multi-tasking abilities of a harried mother, simultaneously delivering projects, papers and presentations whilst turning up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for class despite having had a skinful the night before then you might just have a chance.

Does that sound like you. If so then give it a go….

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