What would you do if you had all the money you ever needed?
Or in other words, if you never had to think about earning money to fulfill your needs and wants, what would you think about? What would you do? Would you still be doing your current job?
I have asked this question to a few friends; one of them kept talking about working in and developing sports and entertainment industries. Another friend shared her enthusiasm about artificial human organs and her interest in working on them. Another friend went on about how he wants to build a big house where all his family members can live together in harmony. Another person from a developing country thinks he could’ve been born in a poor family and spent his childhood working; thus it’s his duty to go back to his country and do something for those kids who weren’t as fortunate as him. It can be anything, ranging from professional goals like running your own business, to personal achievements like being close to your family.
But whatever the answer is, that is your dream. That is what you really want from your life.
While doing an MBA, this question is even more relevant. Most of us have been working full time before coming here. An MBA, no matter how tight its schedule is, gives us the time to think about ourselves, and reflect on our past. But why MBA is the right time to do that? It’s a crazy program, with so much to do in so little time. But because we try so many new things, we learn more about ourselves. We explore things we like and find stuff that is not our cup of tea. For example, after the Managing Customer Values classes in INSEAD, some of us were fairly unimpressed and some of us felt at home (I belong to this group). But that’s OK; as we with our individuality will have different preferences. And those individual preferences get reinforced every time we expose ourselves to diverse experiences.
At INSEAD, during our first period (semester) in one Organizational Behavior class, we were asked to write with the hand we usually don’t use for writing. We compared our regular handwriting with that and was posed with the question, “ We can write with our left hand (in my case) but how much work will be required to get to the level of our right hand? Won’t it be better to dedicate that work to improving the handwriting of our right hand?” In other words, won’t it be better to focus on our strengths and excel in those fields rather than trying to cover our weaknesses. Because if we look around for people who have excelled in their fields, we can see that those impacts were created through exercising their strengths. We appreciate Usain Bolt for his speed and running, but would we care if we find that he is not good in playing violin or writing articles? His strength, coupled with his dreams, makes him who he is. INSEAD’s extremely diverse student body, educational materials and development tools allow us to know ourselves in more definite terms and keep working on that. Similarly, I assume, in other MBA programs, candidates have the opportunity to go through a transformational experience.
Because of that, now is the time to stop, take a deep breath and ask ourselves that question. An MBA is pushing us to understand ourselves better. And we will be able to use that understanding most effectively if we can pinpoint what we want. There’s a quote I’m fairly fond of : “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” If you haven’t already, MBA gives you the chance and resources to decide where you want to be tomorrow.
Maybe you’ve already figured it out. Or maybe you think you have but you are starting to realize that you want something else. Or maybe you have never thought about this. In that case, now, might be the best time to do that.
Because once you find what you really want, you have a bigger question to answer.
“What’s stopping you from getting that?” Instead of waiting, why can’t you start today, and slowly build your life towards that dream?
And maybe, your next step will get you closer to that.