Hone your leadership skills

Tips for ROI calculation on Management Programs (MBA vs EMBA/Fellows Program):

1)      Actual Calculations: I discovered that even though you may be highly  experienced and decently employed with a six figure salary, the straight forward monetary ROI calculation for a full time Fellows program/EMBA is not worth anymore. (The assumption here is you are paying for the program, not your company)

My suggestion: Start incorporating intangible benefits into your ROI calculations. This is usually not the case with a young working generation, whose salary increase after doing a MBA from top schools jumps by at least 25-50%.

2) Leadership Skills: After several discussions with my mentor and reading tons of articles, blogs and forums, I decided to pursue a program which would target and sharpen my leadership skills. Moving up the career ladder may highly be based on your leadership skills.

My suggestion: If you are an experienced functional Manager who is considering an EMBA or another executive program, think about the leadership skills you have acquired early on. This can help you decide what eventual road to take for your career by being aware of what your strengths are. Lately, outsourcing seems to be enticing to firms & IMHO so your leadership skills will come in handy to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Try looking into Dale Carnegie Institute for “Soft Skills” or Ariel Group for “Leadership by Presence” skills.

3)    Decide What is Right for You: I wanted to go back to school to enhance and refresh the knowledge I had already gained, and to build and extend my network. I looked at Sloan’s Fellows programs at Stanford and MIT. Stanford was of shorter duration (less than a year) and chances of me getting into program were good, but this also meant losing 1 year salary and accumulating decent cash reserves to take care of my family. The huge investment needed to satisfy my desire led me to look into something “outside the box.” There had to be a way to move up the corporate ladder without spending another 2-4 years full time anywhere.

My suggestion: Have some perspective and set the monetary benefits aside.  Some people will say that education is not the most important criteria. It’s a great combination of education and leadership skills that will help the future working generation. Work in a challenging environment that will allow you to obtain the much needed leadership skills and work experience you need to be successful in the future. Create your own brand name ( this is very important – more info can be had from the book Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson ).  Hone your skills and put them to work for you.

My decision to do PLD at Harvard came form these 3 tips. I narrowed down my choices to PLD at Harvard, Global Management Program at MIT and KMI at Kellogg. I ultimately choose PLD because I read the “Business Week” article emphasizing the fact that the PLD has students (like me) who already had an MBA. Also, previous PLD participants described it as excellent program, the selection process was a cut above the rest and the class size was about 100 executives.  It had what I was looking for to further my education and enhance my skills so I knew I made the right decision.

For next few weeks I am going to write about the journey at Harvard Business School.

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