How do you determine the pay-off of making a decision, the payoff of doing an MBA, for example? The debate around doing an MBA is extensive. Simplified, is the value derived worth the investment? This very topic came up in our Firms and Market class last week when studying game theory, a framework for understanding choice in situations.
If you are contemplating or dreaming of doing an MBA, I believe the most important part of making this decision is understanding what you value, knowing your 'why'. Deciding to do an MBA is one of those choices that radically alters the direction of your life, whether you realise it at the time or not.
A value-based approach
Values are who we are; they are the fundamental component of our identity. Values are the driving force behind your attitudes, behaviours, and actions. Each individual has a different set of unique values. You may place a higher value on adventure or risk in comparison with your mother, for example, who values stability or consistency. Either way, if you are stuck making a decision in your life, think first, what do you value?
Maybe you value money and see the MBA as a means of increasing your earning potential. If so, what worth do you place on immediate rewards (next year’s salary) over future rewards (your salary in ten years)? Others see the MBA as a non-quantifiable experience, the chance to network, connect, and bond with hugely talented individuals from an array of professional backgrounds.
For me, the decision to do an MBA at Oxford was driven by two key values:
- Learning – I have always been driven by a desire to learn and to push myself to the best of my ability. I felt I had reached a plateau and wanted to continue growing and developing my skills at one of the best universities in the world. Learning for me is a continuous lifetime process.
- Exploration – I began to realise I was living life in a linear, formulaic manner according to a set of pre-determined rules and systems. I was lacking freedom and a sense of adventure. Doing an MBA offered an opportunity to explore different perspectives, ideas, and, most importantly, consider the impact I wanted to have on the world.
Living a life of fulfilment
I have never regretted my decision to do an MBA at Oxford. Payoffs and values don’t just exist in the MBA world. In life, we are surrounded by decisions. Understanding and accessing your values means you are more likely to make a decision that resonates with what really matters to you. As a coach, I help people explore their values. Understanding personal values and life purpose plays a key role in living a fulfilled life. Find out more about Emily’s coaching business.