Going the Distance: Long Distance MBA

Going the Distance: Long Distance MBA

 “I’ve piled-up few years of work-ex in my resume`. It’s kind of getting nowhere and I want to heat-up the things a notch higher now.

(Really? Do you even know the difference between resume` and curriculum vitae or CV?)

I’m thinking of doing an MBA to fast-forward my quest on the corporate ladder. But I don’t want to clock-in the required hours or days or actually the years to earn the coveted degree of management.  

I want to keep my lifestyle and my salary to fund my weekend quests. What I want is a trophy degree to showcase on my resume`, to throw it on the table next time me and my boss have a candid discuss over ‘my career’.

Long distance learning is the in-thing. What do you suggest? Shall I enrol for a long-distance MBA program?”

Sounds familiar? Yeah, yeah, I know this is not exactly how one would put it when they are having this discussion. But you get the idea, right? This is what lies between the lines when this conversation happens, more or less. Are we reading too much between the lines? Oh, I forgot to mention, pun intended.

Coming to the point here, many of us reach to this point after a couple of years in their first job, or second or even third for some, after graduation. We felt directionless fresh after college and it only gets worse with increasing number of years in that bracket of work experience, if anything. Then someone spills the pearls of wisdom and suggests you to get an MBA. You’ll always find some MBA-types hovering around the work place. Do I have to keep mentioning, pun intended? C’mon, get some life. They never seem to do anything with their career but are always eager to help you with yours. You bring your R n D (research and development, for the uninitiated ones) antennas out and start scouting for a suitable way to attain this Holy Grail of a professional (looking) CV (or was it resume`? Keep looking). By now you’ve learnt that you should do only smart work, whatever that means. Hence this MBA thingy has to be done with minimum effort, minimum learning and as fast as possible.

Those MBA-types sniff you from afar and come with some more pearls of wisdom to offload on you. They will enlighten you that, going through the whole routine of preparation, writing and actually clearing those scary-looking entrance-exams and chasing the admission processes and doing a full-time MBA for 2 whole years, is for dummies. Oh my god! When was the last time someone was in college for that long? Smart people take other routes. Who actually needs to do a full-time MBA for what it’s worth? Remember, we just need that hell of a degree; everyone seems just so pumped-up about. So there come, the long-distance learning programs for which you don’t need to give up your beloved job, which you’re so dying to leave anyway is a different story altogether. And it comes in all shapes and sizes. There are those 3 year long, long distance programs where you get impressive-looking lengthy material, to do it all by yourself. Then there are fast-paced 1 year, weekend classes, errr virtual classes, 1 week on campus programs. Foreign university alliances and some fancy sounding diplomas etc etc. The fees are only a small fraction of what one needs to pay for full-time MBAs now a days. No one would even know the difference. You actually fell for that? Sweet. Isn’t that a steal? The best thing is your life goes on as it is. Now, I’m confused. Didn’t you want to do something with the way your life and career are going on, to begin with? Oh, forget it. Focus on getting an MBA.

Anyways, you enrol for one such program. Now, you’ve got classes on your weekend. Virtual classes with the same IIM professors (cool!). It all feels just fine in the beginning. You get to learn and brag about so many fancy managerial terms and theories. There are some case studies too. You also get tests and occasional assignments. Oh, and you also have virtual class-mates. Networking is so important, you know. So you’ve hit the jackpot. You’ll be an MBA soon.

But wait, not just yet. Soon, you start getting bored of this routine. It makes less and less sense as the time passes. You don’t understand so many things; have got far too many questions, but whom and when and how much can you ask in those weekend sessions. You do the math and realize that these classes are actually costlier than what it felt as a whole package. Hence, you feel guilty to ask questions, so not to waste the precious and very limited class-time. You don’t get a thing about that assignment. Your teammates on those group assignments seem alien now. Well, you met them virtually a few times. You don’t see any of that radical personality improvement happening to you. Girls or boys or whoever interests you, still don’t give you second glance, boss is still as mean as it gets, colleagues haven’t started taking you seriously, now that you’re doing an MBA. What’s happening in reality is that you’re not getting enough sleep or rest, your crazy weekends are long-lost memory instead it gets spent with your virtual classmates and professors, you’ve missed some deadlines both on work and on the course, you feel tired than ever, your partner is always complaining for your lack of interest in everything. Life has become a messy blur and that too not a romantic one. Your impending promotion feels like slipping from the clutches of your hands, and here you were dreaming about skipping few steps on the way-up. The new kid comes, fresh from a reputed B-school and you’re supposed to report to him now. Damn!

So what went wrong? Aren’t managers supposed to be good at multi-tasking? Isn’t that management all about? So what did you miss?

Stay tuned and we will see (hopefully!)


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