Using your pre-MBA skills

The MBA is a generalist degree. Yes some universities offer specialization but these specializations are merely options for you take some more courses from a preferred field of study. These are not meant to make you a “specialist”. An MBA is also not a trade – engineering, science, political science, economics, finance are trades. So, no matter what you do an MBA in or how you view an MBA, remember that your past life (study, experience and life values) will still stay and probably play an equal, if not more part in your future success.

Having said that, an MBA is also an opportunity for you to pause and ponder – having been on the run working on multiple projects and delivering outcomes for the last 3-5 years (sometimes even more), it is important to have a think about what comes next. Also, not a lot of us know what we want to be when we are in our 20s – rather that comes when we are in our 30s. That’s why what you wanted to be after high school might (and in lot of cases, will) change when you have worked for a few years in a chosen field of study.

It is alright to change your career goals as long as you realize that you can’t start from scratch – no matter what you do post MBA has to be supported by whatever you have learnt pre-MBA. And often it is not a bad thing. If you have studied science and technology, your skills in automation, project management, analytical thinking are things you take for granted but are skills that are immensely helpful in your post MBA career. If you have studied economics and finance, your understanding of business and how different functions operate at a grass root level will be very useful in a general management career.

It is always good to have a skills inventory, pre-MBA. This will help you understand what career goals are achievable, how you can start preparing towards the goals and ultimately, make your unique life story realistic and well thought of. I always use a simple table to design skills inventory for my students and I have filled in one row for you.

SkillLevel of competenceDemonstrate skillsPost MBA desired careerLink to post MBANeeds upskilling?
AnalyticalAdvancedEngineering degree, GMAT scoreManagement ConsultingProblem solving, number crunching, ExcelAdvanced excel modelling

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