Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The MBA Riddle

So its been a while since i started working. 4 years to be exact. And i decided it is time i pondered on what kind of higher studies i should pursue. For me learning is not about having a piece of paper nicely laminated,framed and hanged in your house. Its about the learning outcome and the value i get from it. You feel this more when you have to self sponsor your studies and not depend on your parents to fund you. After all i believe they spent more than enough for my undergraduate studies and i do not want to burden them again.

Most people have the propensity to think that your post graduate studies should be inline with your undergraduate studies. Whilst there is some truth to this belief let me say that it shouldnt be a one to one match of your undergraduate studies. At least that is the case with my choice. I had two choices. MSc vs MBA.

I read for my BSc in  Computing and Information Systems as my undergraduate studies, as computers were my passion from younger days. Most people will and actually did suggest that i should read for an MSc in Computer Science saying it will propel my career to new heights. I never disregard anyone's thoughts as a principal so i thought about it long and hard. Here is my analysis on it.

If i were to do an MSc i first would see the available options for me. Coming from an average family the financial feasibility of funding for a foreign education was not realistic. I sure do wish i could have done a degree at MIT. But hey that is life, we do not always get what we want, but i believe God guides us through various paths so that we realize our true potential in ways we could not comprehend at first.

So anyhow moving on, i looked at a few opportunities locally. I must say in Sri Lanka there are quite a few reputed local universities offering recognized post graduate degrees in Computer Science. So my next step was to see what areas are covered within those courses.

Going along each, some were more inclined towards Software Architecture whilst others were more into artificial intelligence, Data mining etc. My passion was Software Architecture so i looked at the course content of those post graduate degrees. Going through it in detail i was amazed to see that most of what it covers had already been covered within my work experience. So i was left with the question as to what possible advantage this will give me. If i were to do a SWOT analysis i would come up with a negative response for sure.

As i stated before i am not a person to do degree just to get the mental satisfaction that i have achieved something great. I would actually want something that would enable me to challenge my self and help to me reach new heights.

An MBA has always been my choice of post graduate studies. I did my research on MSc because various people suggested that option to me and i really wanted to assess that option. So why an MBA you might ask. I am not going to give you obvious answers many people give such as;

  1. I want to start my own business someday
  2. I want to be a manager in my work place
and many more.

For me the world of entrepreneurship has been an interesting phenomena. From my younger days i have been a fan of The Apprentice, following most seasons up-to-date. Some may not like the way Mr. Trump handles business, but i can see his point of view in most cases.Though some may seem harsh, at the end of the day as he says its business and nothing personal.

An MBA for me is a source which will enable me to view the world in a different perspective and to think differently. Take for example what happened with Coca Cola and Pepsi. They were rivals going head on against each other. Though the rivalry exist still, its not as much as before. Its because they identified their true foe which is WATER. So they came up with various stalls on the road to promote the idea that if your thirsty you should drink Coca cola/Pepsi. This is a concept called Game Theory. For me this is a great idea. In the world of business so many interesting cases exists. That thinking pattern amazes me. Though an MBA will not directly provide me the ability to come up with amazing ideas as such, it will surely change my thinking pattern to see things differently at to let go of the limited scope thinking pattern.

Being able to grab hold of all aspects of the business world is very important as i see with the increased propelling of the economies of countries. So rather than limiting my knowledge to one particular field i would like to have the option of widening my knowledge in the business world. Of course one might say that you can learn all that is taught in MBA schools by reading a few books. Of course the theoretical knowledge you can acquire my reading a few good books, but the practical experience that you are taught my visiting lecturers and the various experiences you obtain with outbound training, team work activities etc those you cannot gain by your own as those are experiences you have to live out.

Im not stating that everyone in the field of IT should do an MBA after the undergraduate studies. For me its a passion driven by various aspects as i highlighted above. An MSc will stand you in good stead too given that the course content fits what you are looking for.

And that is how i solved my MBA riddle :) ... I know many will have alot of different views on the same. So pls leave by your view which is highly appreciated.

And to others who are contemplating on their higher studies i hope i shed some light on the subject and i wish each and everyone of you the best in everything.

God Bless....


  1. Thx Nalaka. Appreciate your feed back.

  2. So long as the MBA is pursued for the gain of knowledge, the recipient will not be disappointed.

    But if the advanced degree is pursued in anticipation of higher pay or more prestige in the IT community, I humbly offer the opinion that there is no guarantee of satisfaction.

    Good luck, and may God bless you in your efforts!


  3. Hi Rick,

    Very good point i failed to touch upon in my article about the myth that people think you will get a higher pay cut if you have an MBA.

    My point in doing an MBA is to gain the knowledge of the world of business as you rightly mentioned.

    Thank you for the wishes Rick. Appreciate it alot.

    May God bless you too.

  4. Hey Bro.

    I must say you have made a superb decision.

    After all its what you want to gain from it and not others believe what it actually gives right? =) I wish you All the Very Best!! with your studies and all your en devours !!

    Cheers !! =)

  5. Hey Chamindra,

    Thx alot bro. And i wish you the same with your higher studies as well. Hope you make the right choice. Just follow your heart, thats all i can say :)

  6. My opinion is that the world is in much greater need of Computer Science PhDs than more MBA graduates. I don't mean to discourage you from the MBA program, but in the USA we have too many MBAs in my opinion because graduate schools have lower standards for their entrance because they fund their two years of education usually through student loans, whereas most PhD students get their funding from their department as teaching assistants or research assistants, and thus universities must place strict limits on the number of incoming PhD students. Thus, the standards for admission are lower for MBA students because universities can admit as many as they like as there is no budget constraint and the more MBA students they have the greater tuition that the school can collect from those students. It is not uncommon to see many universities that graduate far more MBAs per year than MDs (doctors) and PhD combined.

    I say to anyone to do what they want to do, but there is nothing wrong with considering what industry demands as well.

  7. Hi Tiempo,

    Thx for leaving by this comment. im sure many will benefit reading your point of view. I agree with you that they is lesser computer scientist in the world and increasing MBA programs hinder the quality of MBAs. To have the best value you should do an MBA from a reputed institution as i believe. And also as long as you love what you learn i agree there is not harm at all in considering other options.

    Thx again for leaving such a comprehensive commment.

    God bless

  8. As an American, my experience has been that getting both an MS and then a PhD in the CS field was a complete waste of time. Companies simply don't care. I am at the point where, if I want another job, I leave the PhD *off* the resume or I don't get calls. If you have the means, get an MBA from a top five or top ten school. If you can't get to one of the top schools, do not waste your time. A lot of folks warned me about these matters before I went and did my advanced degrees. I gained a lot of self-satisfaction from them, but none of that work has translated into higher wages for the most part.

    Another thing that CS profs don't tell you: By the time you are 40, you are beginning to look "too old" in the field, no matter how much you keep up. People with families are a liability, and they are too expensive. Corporations are ruthless, so understand this and make as much money as soon as you can as fast as you can and don't expect that money to be there--it's over by age 50, no matter how smart you are.

  9. hmm very interesting comment. i must say you have touched on some very interesting topics here. thx for sharing the info. the last paragraph in it self was an eye opener. Never looked at it that way. But i get your point. Thx for touching on those points and appreciate your feedback.

    God Bless

  10. I agrre on Anonymous as i m here in Uk .. Most of the company looks for ppl with experience , there care less about ur phd's and Mba's (please note i m talking about SE/SSE/Tech lead ..) . But i have seen couple of adv for juniors where in advt .. they especially mentioned about top university names.. If you wann progress through techy job i suggest to do more useful certificates than mba an phd ,, but if you wanna settle behind desk and be a PM who keep A.. On one place and adding headers and footers to all the mails.. yes those degrees will help .

    cena .. u know me bro

  11. wish you all the best machan. u have given something for me to think about too. God is always with you.

  12. The primary reason to get into MBA program is network building; business knowledge learning is not as important as former. That's why you should go for those top MBA programs, because they can provide you a pool of high quality people, so you can expand your network and reach out further.

    Keep that in mind, you are there to meet your future business partners, not studying for straight A for your GPA.

  13. @Tharindu: Thx bro. And hope you figure out what you should be doing. all the best and strive for the best.

    @Anonymous: I forgot to touch on this topic. Thx for shedding the light on it. Yes the network of ppl you meet is a key factor in an MBA too. Its not abt the grades but the contacts you build with these ppl. Thx for leaving by a comment.

  14. I believe that there is no right or wrong answer in this case, because it is all very subjective. But the correctness of your decision will depend upon how you choose to utilize your qualification and all the other things that you will gain from it, such as experience, knowledge and industry connections. Figuring out how to make full use of your qualification, knowing how it fits in with your goals and career path will be the most important part of your riddle. And since you have chosen something that you are genuinely interested in, I have no doubt that you will succeed! I wish you all the best bro....

  15. Agent Warn,

    Whats up :).. Thx alot for the comment bro. And yea i agree with you completely. At the end of the day its not about if you pass or not, its about the fact of how you will utilize the knowledge you gained from your higher studies. All the best to you too bro.. Agent EK signing off ;)