I know what you are thinking. Seven months into the program, I looked at my bank account, briefly contemplated closing it down and getting a piggy bank in its place, and decided to rant about the financial cost of the MBA. Sorry to disappoint you...while getting a piggy bank is probably the logical step given that it can comfortably hold the remnants of my life savings, I'm actually here to talk about the 'Intangible' costs of the MBA. There are tons of articles that talk about the tangible costs; school fees, lost earnings, college fees, living expenses, and other incidental costs and as such I would like to touch on those frequently ignored intangible costs that prospective applicants and students would be wise to prepare for.
With the sheer number of lectures, assignments, speeches, conferences, competitions, dinners, parties and all the other events MBA students have to get through, its a tough ask maintaining relationships with family, partners and friends not within MBA circles. I can only imagine how many times my girlfriend rolls her eyes when i go on for the umpteenth time about this great speaker and this awesome conference....luckily for me, she's extremely understanding. The MBA can take its participants into this parallel world that makes it difficult to invest the time required in maintaining pre-MBA relationships. Perhaps for these reasons, a good number of students choose to bring over their partners, most of whom are actively involved in student life and are friends with lots of students.Whatever you decide to do, I think its important to think about it before hand and come up with a strategy that works for you....
Mental / Psychological Costs
The intense nature of the MBA, when added to the competitive job market can put a huge strain on MBA students. Your resilience and mental strength will no doubt be tested in one way or the other. People who aren't used to failure getting multiple job application rejections, students who've always been the best at everything realizing there are smarter people in class, students who have never done anything quantitative in their lives suddenly faced with the sinking feeling that comes with not understanding any of the weird looking formulas and equations. I could go on....every single person would have had to develop some kind of mental toughness over the course of the year to deal with the MBA. I think prospective applicants and students should have these at the back of their minds before they start the program;
- There're going to be people smarter, stronger, taller, more articulate and generally more awesome than you are. Deal with it and learn from them.....
- Prepare yourself in advance for possible rejections on the job front, its not you, its them. By getting admitted into a top tier school, you are likely to be competing for the best jobs with all the other students from the best schools. Convincing employers that you are the right candidate for a role is a daunting task and requires significant time spent networking, drafting cover letters, networking (repetition deliberate) and practicing cases (where relevant). Its important to keep your chin up if for some reason you encounter setbacks by way of rejections. Spread your net as wide as possible, explore unconventional options, your dream job at the start of the program might just be different from your dream job at the end of the program after you've been exposed to many possibilities.....open your mind.
- If you belong to the group of people convinced you would fail some courses due to your non-quantitative background, listen up. I have a friend who fell into that category at the beginning of the program...she ended each class wondering what she was doing there and couldn't understand how everyone else seemed to understand what the lecturer was talking about. But she also stayed behind each class to ask questions and put in a ton of effort....she got distinctions in those courses...no mean feat! So fear not....
Beer, Kebabs, Coffee, Insomnia, late nights, pizza, marathon study sessions, crazy parties to blow off steam.....need I say more?
P.s: For those that googled this in a bid to come up with financial estimates, about 40,000 pounds for school and college fees and anything between 700 to 1200 pounds a month (depending on who you ask) for living expenses. Of course there are many incidental costs depending on your interests so prepare accordingly....*takes a peek at bank account again* sigh