On December 16, 2012, I woke up as a newly minted MBA. Everyone kept asking me if I was excited. Excited? No not really. More like relieved. Relieved at the removal of the insecurity of whether or not I could actually finish or not. Relieved at not having to scramble to buy books, software, or to insure that my planned courses for the upcoming year were actually available. Relieved at being off that 15-week treadmill of getting a syllabus, figuring out your professor, choosing a team from your peers, and stressing over studying and exams.
Sometime that day, I logged onto my LinkedIn profile and updated my education and tagline to reflect my new status. However I stopped short of adding the initials ‘MBA’ after my name. Why? Well, other than completing the course requirements necessary for earning an MBA degree, what else has changed about me? I’m still working the same job and have the same amount of knowledge…relatively speaking. Some would say that the ‘MBA’ by your name on LinkedIn helps you stand out among recruiters. That could very well be true in that it certainly catches my eye when I see it. Others really rail against it. I hear their point as well.
However, in the end, my personality and professional outlook when out over any self-marketing gimmicks that I could use. I’ll tell anybody that I honesty enrolled in my MBA program for the educational aspect of it. Sure, I would like to be able to snag a great job on the merits of my degree(s). But I also want that job to be one that actually demands a high level of competency in business knowledge.
The truth is, I am not just a “degree”…or any other type of label. Anyone, including hiring managers, can learn more about me and my competencies by just Googling my name, than by seeing ‘MBA’ after it. MBA degrees are so diverse, so wide in range in terms of quality, you really can’t assume much about any person who has earned one. What you have to do is dig deeper…to see what the full story is behind their professional profile.
And finally, I don’t want to give any sort of impression that I’m aloof or haughty about the fact that I have an MBA degree. Not that I feel that way about others who choose to do so. I would just rather be cautious in this regard. Ultimately I am a well-rounded person, with a life and interests outside of my career. I want to present that to the world in every way possible…even on a career-oriented social networking site like LinkedIn. See the know-how and skills that I have please…not just my credentials (or lack thereof).