M is for…

M

…MBA

After 4 1/2 long grueling years, I have finally finished all of the course requirements for my Masters in Business Administration degree.

This past Wednesday, April 13, the powers that be at Athabasca University (AU) officially granted me my degree and said parchment is apparently on its way to me right now via snail mail. JD’s degree is coming to me too – shortly after his passing, AU contacted me to let me know that they would be granting his degree posthumously based on his stellar academic performance while he was alive. And to ask me to let them know when I was graduating, so that we could graduate together. Wasn’t that wonderful of them? I was very touched.

The official Convocation is going to be held in Alberta in June. I’ve already booked my flights and my hotel and rental car. To finally meet in person so many of my academic coaches, fellow graduates, and AU staff after interacting in a virtual environment for all these years is exciting, even for an introvert like me!

Before JD finagled me into this I started this journey, I had always thought that a business degree was not for me. I didn’t see myself as a “business person” at all. I saw myself as a scientist and a bit of an artist. I had some pretty strong ideas about what being in business was all about and I was having none of it.

How wrong I was about this.

My MBA studies have led to a deeper understanding of what business really is and (most importantly) can be, and has further shaped who I am and how I interact with this world. Whatever you may read or experience in the world of business, at business school there are strong underpinnings of ethics and corporate social responsibility in every subject area. Time and time again we were presented with examples of companies and business leaders that were not only financially successful but also good, thoughtful corporate citizens.

Unfortunately it is the Enrons and Chainsaw Als of this world that get most of the (bad) press. Because this is more interesting and sells more media than a little story about a little business doing good things?

Life is business and business is life. Think about this because I have, a lot. Read this next paragraph and think of yourself as a corporate entity (which you are because you literally have a body).

You have to come up with a product (yourself) that people are willing to invest in and “buy”, and market it accordingly. You have to decide how you are going to interact in this world with all of your stakeholders: your partners, suppliers, investors, customers, employees, alliances and competitors. You need to pay close attention to your financial data and set goals and targets – short, medium and long-range. You need to manage your resources effectively. You need to conduct yourself in an ethical, responsible and professional manner at all times. Some would disagree with this last statement, especially with their actions if not words but I am telling you YOU NEED TO DO THIS as a responsible, successful human being. It is your duty as a functioning member of society.

When you look at it this way, we are all business people – in the business of being humans. Who wouldn’t benefit from a business degree to help manage You, Inc?

Rock on,

The WB

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