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The anti-climax effect
Many MBAs note “greater confidence” as one of the gains of the course. But in career terms that has a downside. MBAs on sponsored courses come away with a feeling summed up by one who said: “You feel you’ve changed, but the organisation hasn’t.” Many people on sponsored MBAs move on after a decent interval because, although their salary has gone up, they feel their experience and hard-won skills are not being used properly by their employers.

The great advantage of part-time and distance-learning programmes is that you can immediately apply what you are learning to your normal work. But that does not necessarily happen on its own. MBAs need to be proactive in seeing that what they do presents opportunities for the practical application of learning, even though the pressures of simply doing the course make it hard to focus on longer-term objectives.

Another way in which MBAs can hit the ground running when they return to their employers or re-enter the job market is to link to their career aims the project and/or dissertation which forms the later part of most courses. Part-timers often choose a project which is virtually an internal consultancy assignment. Indeed this can be a way of “selling” the idea of sponsorship to their employers. Full-timers who are doing an MBA with a view to changing career tracks can focus the project in an appropriate career sector or discipline.

Students have also reported feeling at a loose end when the work pressure of the MBA suddenly eases off at the finish of a programme. If you do feel the need to go on to learn something else, some suggest it should be an activity that involves your partner – learning languages, for example. For others the prospect of a doctorate in business administration (DBA) beckons.

Source: Adapted with permission from The Official MBA Handbook, www.mbaworld.com
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