Using an MBA to transition into management
New job. New salary. New country. An MBA can change many things in your life, but among them is the possibility to change yourself – Becoming a better person, a better leader, a better business person. That, in turn, can lead to a new career.
That’s why many people don’t just see an MBA as a qualification, but more as a set of new tools that you can add to your personal toolbox. For Lindsey Miyen, a Modular MBA student at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) in South Africa, the program served as a way to move away from her engineering background and into a new career.
“I wanted to transition into more of a management role, but I realized my toolbox has only got engineering stuff in there,” she explains. “I wanted to get a better sense of what the business environment would entail with me transitioning into leadership roles.” (00:34)
The Modular MBA at UCT GSB is a unique program that allows students to study part-time over a two-year period. Although students are expected to travel to Cape Town twice per year, they can take part in the remaining classes online if they wish. It’s ideal for those who want to engineer change in their lives without sacrificing their current career.
But, making any change in life must start with yourself. Thankfully, UCT GSB not only supports personal development but creates an environment that actively encourages it.
The open learning environment at UCT GSB
Molebgoe Mogorosi is a fellow graduate of the Modular MBA program at UCT GSB. She cites the school faculty as a key part of creating an open learning environment, one that promoted knowledge exchange not only between fellow students but between teachers and students as well.
She says, “The faculty have a way of allowing us into a learning environment where we learn from each other, bring up our own views and challenge the lecturer. It created a comfortable space for all of us to challenge our own thinking.” (04:10)
It is this open way of learning that allows UCT GSB students to develop personally and professionally during the program. Lindsey says it changed her professional outlook and made her rethink her career ambitions after returning to the workplace.
“The reason I have now for staying is completely different. I’ve even changed roles actually. So the main reason why I started the MBA for that particular role, it didn’t fit any longer when I went back into modular,” she reveals. (01:01)
Learnings from UCT GSB’s Modular MBA
An MBA can provide you with the business fundamentals: marketing, accounting, economics, management, and leadership. But, looking at it only from that perspective perhaps isn’t doing the degree justice. An MBA also drives change on a personal level, allowing you to leave your comfort zone and take on challenges you never thought you were capable of doing. That was certainly the case for Molebgoe Mogorosi.
“The MBA has taught me to be comfortable with who I am and to recognize my skills. I appreciate the opportunity and the journey that this MBA has taken me on,” she says. (02:14)
“It has been transformative in that I have come out of my shell,” she adds. “I’ve pushed myself to do things that I wouldn’t normally do. I have co-founded a club which I didn’t think I could have ever done. And I’ve approached people that I never thought I would approach.” (02:41)
Whatever you’re hoping to get from an MBA, it may be a better idea to focus instead on the personal benefits it provides. By focusing on developing as a person, you’re giving yourself the tools you need to make a true change in your life. That may manifest itself as a change in career, a salary boost, or simply just a change in outlook. Whatever it is, an MBA can provide you with it.