Making a difficult decision easy

By Associate Professor Nick Wailes, MBA Director

Building a new MBA program took a lot of research. We spent a number of years considering our options, navigating our way through the bewildering array of MBAs, EMBAs, GEMBAs and other executive education programs available from around the globe.

We also spent a long time thinking and finding out about who our own potential MBA candidates are.

We wanted to know their motivations for starting an MBA. Who are they? What are they hoping to get out of our degree? And why would they consider coming to us?

Through an extensive program of research, which involved talking to many prospective MBA students, we got a sense of how significant the decision to do an MBA was and also some of the personal and professional factors that might make it difficult for them to take this important next step. And this understanding played a key role in the design of our new MBA.

It’s unusual for someone to wake up one morning and decide to do an MBA. Normally, reaching the decision to return to study – especially in a field as academically rigorous as an MBA – is the result of a long process of discussion with family, friends, colleagues and mentors.

Most potential MBA students are at a stage in their lives where taking on a significant period of study will have a huge impact. They have careers, families and other commitments to think about as well. For some people, extra time away from family and friends is simply too much to bear. For others, the pressures of balancing study and career are too much of an obstacle.

Those that can see past that will often find that answering “yes” to “should I do an MBA” will throw up more questions than answers.

Which MBA is the right one to do? How will I balance an MBA with all of my other commitments? How hard is it going to be to get to class on time? Can I speed up or slow down my study depending on the demands of work or my personal life?

It’s these questions that we kept in mind when we were in the planning stages of our new MBA – we know that it’s a huge commitment, and we know that our program needs to be flexible, convenient and practical. We want our graduates to develop the skills they need to be more effective managers and leaders. We don’t want to burn them out in the process.

So we made our MBA as “doable” as possible. We secured space for a campus in the CBD. We made it possible for our students to tailor the program to their needs, giving them options to accelerate and slow down as they see fit. And wherever possible we removed requirements that they complete subjects in a certain order. And we made it very clear that our MBA is different – significantly so.

We also know that the world of business is changing rapidly. The managers and leaders of tomorrow will be the ones who can see a challenge, and rise to it. They will be the ones who can recognise an opportunity, and who aren’t afraid to grab it with both hands and make the absolute most of every minute.

They will be the ones who are making their own path through life to achieve their own personal goals and secure a better future. We see our role as helping these leaders of the future get to where they want to go.

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