I finished up my MBA from the Oregon Executive MBA program (OEMBA) in June of this year and the class still has a mailing list. Lately there has some chatter on the mailing list with the main thing kicking it off is that three of my fellow Class 22 graduates appeared in the Portland Business Journal. The article was featuring some of Portland's recent Executive MBA's. I didn't read the article but most of the conversation within my class was about one person being misrepresented in the article and feeling that he sounded like he was unappreciative of the experience. The reality was that when he started the program he was in the corporate world and it was applicable to where he thought he was going. Not long into the program his path had changed from the corporate world and the value of his time and money changed. It really got me thinking about what I thought the value of my MBA was.
For a long time I have intended to make a review of the OEMBA so that others that are researching the program could get a view of it if they did not know someone. I will get to that at some point but in looking back on the value of my MBA I realize that it means something different for everyone. People who paid for it themselves have a different view than those that were paid for by the company. There were things that I learned in my MBA but I have to admit that I don't feel like I got much out of it until the 2nd year and even then it was hit and miss. The reality for me is that I have a business undergrad and have worked in Finance for years so much of the content was not new.
But my MBA has changed my career path. This is not because I have the degree but because of the opportunity it gave me to build relationships. Do not take this that there was nothing learned but no one has said - You have an MBA. Please take this job. This is only a piece to the puzzle, but during our first strategy class the assignments gave me a chance to work with one of our VP's that is a strong force in our strategy. This interaction gave me a chance to develop stronger relationships with him and let him see that I was capable of more than finance and accounting. This interaction over some of my projects let me expand that relationship beyond business as usual.
In May before graduation he asked me to come work for him in Business Development. I went over and quickly got involved in another project that I am now running. It is the first job that I can actually say that I enjoy in which I am a business owner for a very exciting part of the company with a fantastic team. After two years a lot of money it was the chance to further a relationship over some homework is how my MBA has helped me the most.