Having an MBA is like being part of a secret society. There’s no initiation ceremony, no wildly anachronistic costumes, and no secret handshake. But for the rest of your life, whenever you meet another MBA you will be able to exchange knowing looks that say, “I know where you’ve been, friend.”
Having an MBA has a lot of other benefits, too, and I’m not just talking about the elevated earning potential. Life, as it turns out, is a lot like running a business. You have to strategize, keep a strong handle on your performance metrics, and keep networking all the way. So it follows that the same skills that got you through case competitions, interviews, and accounting exams can help make you a Jedi in your personal life.
After business school, even an introvert like me can BS her way through a conversation with a complete stranger. In fact, you could say that b-school is just two years of networking in different settings under varied levels of stress. You know that it doesn’t really matter what you talk about as long as you keep talking, and you’re not ashamed to have a 10 minute discourse on the weather.
Dating, making friends, navigating social events, impressing business contacts, meeting the in-laws, chatting up other parents at soccer games.
Skill: Project Management
I’ve always been a spreadsheets-and-file-folders type of gal, but business school takes project management to a different level. Whether you use Google Docs, Basecamp, Trello, or something else, you’ve got your favorite tools and you know how to use them. No project can withstand your superhuman ability to define, prioritize, delegate, and track progress.
Planning weddings, funerals, birthday parties, vacations, moves, garage sales, company picnics, book clubs, happy hours…
Skill: Finance & Accounting
Being an adult is roughly 90% number crunching. Which health plan should I enroll in? Where should I invest my retirement fund? When can I afford to buy a house? Take the standard deduction or itemize? Any MBA worth her salt can open up Excel and let the numbers do the talking. Whether she then chooses to ignore the numbers and splurge on a luxury trip to Bermuda is entirely her prerogative.
Managing your retirement and investment portfolios, financial planning, household budgeting, saving for big purchases, doing your taxes.
Skill: Personal Branding
Possibly no other job seeker on the planet has spent as much time crafting their personal brand as a newly graduated MBA. You march bravely into the job market with a sterling resume and cover letter, 500 new LinkedIn connections, a personal website, a blog, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest profiles, and newly minted business cards with font shiny enough to blind your competition. If all else fails, you’re ready with your 1-minute elevator pitch at a moment’s notice.
Job hunting, resume building, LinkedIn, networking, hiring, scoffing at the wimpy resumes of your friends and colleagues.
Skill: Overcoming Setbacks
Probably the most important skill gained in business school: you know not to give up when things get hard. Rejection happens, and it sucks. But you know that just beyond the rejection letter lies another opportunity, possibly even better than the one you didn’t get. But you’ll only get it by looking your failure straight in the face, accepting it, and figuring out how to improve your chances next time.