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Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Why One Student is Pursuing an MBA

Straight from the Horse's Mouth: Why One Student is Pursuing an MBA

November 30, 1999

Anyone applying for an MBA program should set a number of goals.  These goals should relate specifically to their personal and professional motivations. My motivations in pursing an MBA degree in organizational leadership include the following:

    • A desire to expand my knowledge in business administration
      • A belief that educational experiences can be invaluable to developing new business opportunities in the global marketplace
        • A knowledge of my own potential as an administrator of business operations
          • A need for greater educational opportunities and contacts in the business world.

            How these Four Fundamental Motivations Help Me Determine My Goals

            • The first of my motivations is educational in nature.  My goals around expanding my knowledge base include specific educational aims. First, I hope to experience a variety of educational programs and opportunities that will help me better understand business development and organizational leadership.  Whether these educational programs are offered through on-campus schools or through online schools, there are many programs that cater to one's goals, as well as one's personal and professional schedule.  Second, I have set a goal for academic performance, with the expectation that I will perform to my fullest potential and participate as an active member of the educational community. Finally, I will pursue educational opportunities that put me in contact with members of the business community in order to learn by example.

            • The second source of motivation to attend business school relates to my need for educational experiences that expand my understanding of organizational behavior and business leadership. My goals, then, are focused on this motivator and relate to both educational and professional pursuits. My first goal in this area is to experience course work and learning opportunities that give me an understanding of changing business structures, cultural variations, relativism, social paradigms for business development and organizational communications.  I want to learn about the implications of all of these elements in directing business administration. Second, I will pursue active opportunities to view leadership in organizations, including organizational history and the context in the modern marketplace. Finally, I hope to experience a variety of different structural views of business organizations in order to gain insight into the successes and failures of major players. These goals, then, will serve both my professional and educational development.

            • My third motivation is to expand my knowledge of my own potential as an administrator of business operations. I have already demonstrated an understanding of business structures and of elements of business administration, but I do believe I can benefit from a greater understanding of a variety of business theories. As a result, my central goal under this motivation is to experience different business opportunities and shape a personal view of different organizational climates as they impact my own assessments of business administration and business theory.

            • My final motivation is a broad directive for both professional and educational gains: a need for greater educational opportunities and contacts in the business world. This motivation, then, can shape a variety of different goals.  These goals range from my pursuit of educational programming to enhance my awareness of business leadership, to concepts and administrative changes that need to be made. This range of goals, then, provides a means of developing personally and professionally.

            My personal history supports my capacity to meet these goals and to support my personal motivations. For the past 6 years, I have worked actively to pursue a greater understanding of business structures.  I was exposed to a variety of different business elements and worked as a part of professional communities. As a result of my work experience, I have gained an understanding of the importance of leadership and the impacts of good leadership on organizations.

            On the most basic level, a leader can be defined as "someone who occupies a position in a group, influences others in accordance with the role expectation of the position and coordinates and directs the group in maintaining itself and reaching its goal" (Raven and Rubin, 1976). But leadership within a collective organization must also consider the necessity of the leader to attain group, organizational and societal goals (Avery and Baker, 1990).

            Brown (1996) supports the nine necessary behaviors of leadership, that include:

            1. Developing people
            2. Ability to influence others
            3. Encouraging team work
            4. Empowering people
            5. Using multiple option thinking
            6. Taking intelligent risks
            7. Being passionate about work
            8. Having a strong clear vision
            9. Stretching personal capacity

            These nine characteristics can not only be used to describe corporate leadership, but also to represent the concept of a leader as a whole. The most important role of a leader is to impact the people he leads and to create a link between the actions of the group and goals that are set (Avery and Baker, 1990).

            By promoting the potential of others, leaders can affect the outcomes of actions through their behaviors as leaders. At the same time, a leader can not effectively develop others if he does not have the ability to influence others. In order to be an effective leader, it is necessary to be heard, to catch people's attention, and demonstrate an understanding of the influences that can occur.

            Earning my bachelor degree has given me a greater level of confidence and awareness about my role as an emerging business leader. I believe that the continued application of what I have learned to my career goals and my experiences will enhance whatever I do. My improved confidence in my decision-making capabilities and my own belief in ethical problem-solving have improved my enthusiasm and personal pride.

            Learning is a continuous process, one that should be embraced and celebrated. My undergraduate degree has given me the skills to continue some of my own learning outside of the classroom, but has also sparked an interest in continued educational pursuits, including the achievement of an MBA. Because of the constantly changing business climate, a positive attitude about education and the embracing of lifelong learning is imperative to success.