• The Bottom Line: I Have an M.B.A.

    I have an M.B.A. from St. Thomas. Was it worth it? Am I a better person? A better businessman? Has the extent to which I will be successful in my life and career been permanently altered as a result of the last two years?

    I am not a fortune teller, so I suppose I can’t answer this question with any certainty. What I can do is tell you about my experience and what has happened since I completed the UST Full-time MBA program.

    Getting started…

    Aug. 31, 2006 OK, I need to finish the reading for orientation. I need to buy my books and supplies. I can’t believe I’m going back to school!Sept. 3, 2006 I sit beside 46 of my classmates as Dean Puto welcomes us to the UST Full-time MBA program. Sept. 20, 2006 Two weeks into the program. I join a few classmates for lunch. Talk invariably focuses on what we have to do: chapter 3 for financial accounting, a marketing case and inputs for our business simulation. We all wonder why the professors are putting so much on us so quickly. We just can’t keep up.

    Dec. 12, 2006 Two final exams down, three to go. This seems a little easier than the midterms. I actually slept a few hours last night. I am ahead of schedule on my preparationfor financial accounting and have already outlined my paper for organization behavior.March 12, 2008 I recently was elected CEO of one of the business simulation teams. We met and delegated roles. We have weekly meetings and a reporting system to ensure weexecute our strategy. We built our financial models, a positioning strategy that differentiates our product from the competition and an organizational structure that leverages the strengths of each team member. We are on our way …May 9, 2008 I need to finish the pro-forma projections for Budget car rental for New Venture Finance. I have a lunch meeting with Alan Bignall, CEO of Recon Robotics. Tonight, I meet with my team to run through our Links business simulation presentation.May 17, 2008 I sit beside 46 of my classmates listening to Mr. Andrew Duff deliver his commencement speech. The 36 Opus College of Business papers are turned in. The diploma is in hand. I am done. May 27, 2008 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and head directly to my new office where my boss is waiting. Having worked with him the previous summer during my M.B.A. internship, I know I should be prepared to get down to business. The next few days are filled with reviews of my business plan created in professors Johnson’s and Ebben’s classes. The financials are scrutinized and we refine our strategy. In my spare time, I go to the gym, find an apartment, network and connect with old friends.May 31, 2008 Jump on a plane and head to Sydney, Australia. Little do I know that the next 10 days will be an assault on my senses. I am heading to Budget Car Rental’s Australasia headquarters for a 10-day crash course on car rental. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., I meet with every department and learn the ins and outs of the car rental business. I pushsenior directors for more information and review my notes nightly to prepare for the day ahead.July 15, 2008I just collected payment from our first customer. The first transaction by an international rental car company in Vietnam. I am managing a staff of six, have initiated our marketing strategy, and the calls flow in.Aug. 13, 2008 Our official launch date is just a week away. Attendees of the launch party include hotel general managers, tour operators and corporate executives. The two largest English-language magazines are doing feature pieces on Budget for their September issues and, most importantly, the reservations are starting to come in. We are on our way …In the midst of the UST MBA program, I had very little time to reflect on what exactly I was doing. Were the networking events with business leaders worth my time? Why did professors load on more work when they knew we couldn’t keep up? Would traveling to California to compete in an ethics competition be of value later in my life?I can tell you that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “Yes.” I am not only a better business leader, but I am a better person as a result of my time in the UST Full-time MBA program; I am not only confident in my abilities but I am also better able to manage my time. I am also a better leader and coworker who is far more in touch with and aware of my moral and ethical compass. 

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