The Obvious & Not-So-Obvious Reasons To Get An MBA

Young woman walking down orange stairs, reading book. Stanford GSB first year advice

Earlier this year when I had little over a year of professional experience, I decided it was time for a change.  I knew I wanted international experience and that it would take six to eight months to figure it all out.  I reached out to the human resources department at my company and started looking at positions in Hong Kong, London, and Brazil.  My girlfriend, who is Brazilian and moved back in January to pursue her MBA in her hometown of Curitiba PR (Google Map it), didn’t have to convince me too hard that Brazil would be the ideal choice for not only our relationship but my career as well.   However, I came to find out that the time to cut through the corporate red tape and successfully complete an internal transfer abroad would take me at least 12-15 months to complete.  It would actually be quicker to quit my job and then get rehired than to go through the process at my current employer.

So what am I doing? I am moving to Brazil without a job in hand.  That’s right.  I’m taking the leap and giving my resignation in the middle of November and flying down to Brazil on December 11th.

Interestingly enough, as a side note, I reached out my alma mater’s alumni group based in Sao Paulo a couple of months ago, and they have been more than helpful in getting me connected with different companies across the country.  I’ll be meeting with representatives from these firms in the first quarter of next year and we’ll see what happens.

I also have a few other things going for me when I get down there but rather than speculate, I’ll stop now and blog about looking for a job in a foreign country in another post.

In the interim, at the very least, I plan on teaching English and volunteering part-time while I look for my next opportunity.

Now that we have that out the way…

Why do I want to get an MBA in the first place?

A moment of self-reflection shall we? Why an MBA? From all of the research I have done and everybody I’ve talk to — Why do you want to get an MBA? – is one of the most common questions you’ll be asked when applying to business school.   To be honest, I had to stare at this question for a minute before I was able to answer it.  The reason being is that my answer might be a bit unusual.

The thought that immediately enters my mind is that I’ve wanted to get a MBA since I was a sophomore in college.  I feel like it is as if going to business school is ingrained in me.  It is one of things that I identify myself with.  My best guess for this is that it goes back to the influence of my parents.

My mother was an engineer for General Motors and earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering.   My father, who is an engineer as well but ironically did not pursue masters, has been talking to my brother and I about graduate school education since we were in middle school!

This has led me to visit business school websites, P&Q, and US News, etc. for 5-6 years now.   I am enamored with the entire process.  Moreover, the competition at the elite schools fascinates me.  I admire those who spend years working toward business school, law school, or medical school and the ups/downs that one goes through when applying to graduate school.

That being said, I still have the usual reasons for going to business school just like everybody else.  Please refer to the exhibit below for a brief breakdown.

The Obvious


The Not So Obvious

Career Advancement

Passion for lifelong learning

Learn from expert faculty

Increase global awareness

Development leadership skills

Refocus my career goals

Build professional network

Make lifelong friends

Increased compensation

Ingrained in my ‘DNA’

Achievement of personal goal

Make my family proud

Sharpen business acumen

The friendly competition