A Nigerian's journey to the Business School for the World
Logical thinking is often the right thing to do in all situations but logic in itself is relative. I have been reflecting on a lot of things in the past few weeks and once in a while I hear two conflicting voices regarding my choice of going for an MBA now as opposed to staying back. I believe every MBA applicant goes through this phase and whatever one ends up holding onto goes a long way in affecting one’s perception and opinion about the subject matter.
For a moment, I want to be illogical as many of my close friends believe I already am. I do not have a shitty job. No, far from it. I have been blessed with numerous opportunities in the past few years to build a meaningful career for myself. I have been to other parts of the world, worked with interesting people from different cultures and had a very good taste of what if feels like to be successful. But now, I choose to be “illogical”. Not because I believe an MBA would give me better comfort and a better paycheck, but hoping that my MBA year would enable discover a whole new world that never existed.
I have read on different blogs about the different categories of people who go to INSEAD: the career switchers, the escapees from “shitty” jobs, the consulting guys who go in to tick the box, and all that. I tried hard to fit into one of the popular categories but just couldn’t. You see, going to INSEAD for me is a mix of different things. I have not racked up enough savings to cross the MBA hurdle, so definitely not doing this out of convenience. I am a firm believer in grace, and I am expectant that a scholarship from INSEAD would help my case (Dear Scholarship Committee, please take this seriously). My only options are my little personal savings, a scholarship and Prodigy finance. Unfortunately, taking a loan in my home country is like walking to the gallows and doing the needful. I still find it absurd that banks would charge as high as 27% on educational loans in this day and age. So yes, from the financial angle, I am taking a big risk. But this is what makes life fun, right?
Hopefully come January 2016, I would be walking away from a juicy job in a Fortune 500 company (sad they do not offer study leaves), racking up some huge debts (hopefully, this is not the case), and going thousands of miles across the Sahara in pursuit of greater happiness. Yes, the pursuit of greater happiness beyond being content: the satisfaction in following one’s dreams, which often comes at a cost. I live in a country where unemployment rate is as high as 25% and even though there is a chronic skill shortage, there are also many managerial talents and bureaucracy within organizations (even multinationals) is at its peak. So what then do I expect post MBA?
This is where I have chosen to be illogical in a logical way. I am definitely open to getting back into the corporate workforce post-MBA but clearly on a different set of terms. If innovation and creativity is not your mantra, please do not bother with folks like me. What keeps me going is the desire to effect changes that have a long-term impact on business performance. If I find this in the corporate world, then fine. Otherwise, I believe it just might be about time to take on bigger challenges. I recently read an article on a blog that really inspired me (More on that here). Now that is exactly the kind of challenge I am looking forward to post-MBA.
Would a job in London or Singapore appeal to me? Sure!
Is returning back to Africa an option? Definitely
Do I hope to join the consulting band-wagon as a last resort? Maybe
Am I set for the next big thing? Absolutely…
Call it a crap shot or holding on to uncertainty, I would rather do this than be stuck up in my current state, believing that maintaining a paycheck is the logical thing to do.
Eminem’s opening verse in 8 Mile reads “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, Would you capture it, or just let it slip? Yo..”.
This is my shot. Now waiting on INSEAD to give the final verdict…