Full-time MBA: the biggest learnings from an international MBA

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Rajat Arora, Class of 2016 shares his thoughts on the MBA so far as he enters the final stage – the three-month International Business Project

RAJAT ARORABefore I started my MBA last year in August, many of my friends told me that it would end sooner than I could imagine, and that I must manage my time to extract maximum value out of it. And here I am today, wondering how fast the last 14 months have gone by. The journey has been fast-paced and strenuous, yet the competitive energy around you keeps you going.

The international full-time MBA at Alliance Manchester Business School lets you experience thousands of human emotions in the shortest period of time: the joy of working with 33 nationalities; the frustration of dealing with every individual’s different priorities; the anxiety of securing an internship or a final job; the sadness of facing rejections from interviews; the happiness of eventually nailing an interview; and the constant struggle to balance your personal life with all these activities.

I have recently been reflecting on this and asking myself, what’s the biggest learning I’ve had? Of course I have learned a lot about marketing, consulting, client relationships and finance, but is this really enough? The MBA involves working with people from many backgrounds and cultures 24/7 – an opportunity to learn about different cultures and motivations. While that is also very helpful, I think it’s more important to reflect and understand yourself better. You have ‘bought’ this time to improve yourself and you can see many facets of your own personality in others.

Many times, I fell into the trap of judging other people with no regard to what it said about me. In every accusation you throw at others, there lies a key fact about yourself – but only if you are willing to see it. For example, if your team member is not as committed to the project as you are, then instead of whining too much about it, it’s important to reflect on what you can do to get that person on board. If you are unable to do it, then you are possibly not assertive or persuasive enough, depending upon the situation. Maybe you are not bringing out the great leader in you to inspire all kinds of people. An MBA gives you tonnes of such circumstances, where it’s very tempting to accuse the person or the situation and miss a very important life lesson about yourself. If you pick up on the clues and work on yourself, you will get more out of the MBA than just the academic learning and the projects. Remember, you will never pay thousands of pounds again in your life to buy two years of time to reflect on your life and improve. This is perhaps the last opportunity we have.

I am much more aware of my strengths and weaknesses than I was at the beginning of the MBA. I have tried my best to practise what I’ve preached above, but honestly, I haven’t always been successful. As I proceed to the final stage of my MBA, this will remain the single biggest agenda on my mind, which will help me hone my strengths and hide my weaknesses!

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Alliance Manchester Business School has a global reputation for innovative and influential teaching and research, which impacts business on a local, national and international level. We call this Original Thinking Applied.

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