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Let’s Talk About an MBA

lenka1I already wrote about how I started an engineering consulting company, and this week I’m going to tell you about my back-up plan, getting an MBA. Before I started my business, I was looking into MBA programs in an effort to change my career. While thinking about my essays for what I wanted to do after business school, I realized that the job that I wanted didn’t exist, so I created it with Nuclear Undone.

Even though I changed my career without business school, I decided to get my MBA anyway because it would help me grow my business. Although I had originally wanted to do a U.S. program, the more I researched international programs, the more they seemed like the right fit for me. After the grueling application and interview process, I received my acceptance letter from INSEAD and even got a women’s scholarship from the Forté Foundation. This August, I’m headed to France to complete the year-long full-time MBA program and I couldn’t be more excited!

When deciding whether an MBA is right for you, think about what you want to do with your career in the future. Do the people that have your dream jobs have MBAs? Do you want to do project management or be in a leadership role? An MBA will only enhance your skills as an engineer and make you a more valuable employee for knowing both the technical and the business side of things. Business knowledge is also very helpful if you want to start your own company.

Business schools are expensive and less and less employers are paying for education. But, don’t let the cost scare you, an MBA is almost always a good investment. Look at the estimated return on investment (ROI) and the job placement statistics of schools that you are applying to.

Last week I attended the Forté Foundation MBA Women’s Leadership Conference (pictured above with my future INSEAD classmate) and I learned a few things about going to business school as a woman. As engineers, we’re pretty used to being in a male-dominated field, but the “male domination” in business is pretty different from engineering. In technical fields, our brains and hard work are our greatest asset. In business, negotiation and communication are essential and men and women tend to do these things differently. As a female engineer in business school, you’ll already have the experience to deal with working with mostly men.

Another theme that resonated with me during the conference was courage. Making decisions out of fear can lead to an unhappy personal and work life and higher risk means higher reward. Remember that what you want is just outside your comfort zone!

This article originally appeared on Engineering in Style.

 

Lenka Kollar is the owner and editor of Nuclear Undone, an energy education and consulting firm. She is a Forté Fellow and MBA Candidate at INSEAD, focusing on entrepreneurship and international business. In the future, Lenka plans to expand her consulting business abroad and work on international energy and sustainability issues.

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