As the seasons change and time marches on, we all think from time to time that we want to improve ourselves: study something new, acquire a new skill, try a new activity. If you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, you might be thinking about business courses, or even an MBA.
You might also wonder, “What’s it like to study for your MBA? Do I have what it takes?”
Here’s a little secret: there’s always more to learn, no matter who you are.
In fact, we asked GLOBIS MBA faculty what they wish all their students knew before taking their course. Here’s what they had to say…
There are many famous theories and frameworks in strategy and marketing. Some students already know these before taking the class, but real question isn’t “Do you know them?” but “Can you apply them?” Students need to understand how to use them in real cases to make decisions. This is more important than how many frameworks you know.
There are two steps before the be-able-to apply stage:
1) Know the concept
2) Understand the concept
Only after those can you reach 3) Apply the concept.
The shortcut to reach 3) is practice. That’s why we spend more time on 1) and 2) at GLOBIS. Try to apply at least one theory to one case every day. If you continue to do this, you will have 365 trial-and-error cases, which is going to be your management foundation.
What do I wish every student knew? Definitely critical thinking.
Critical thinking helps you express your thoughts and contribute meaningfully in class discussion. It also helps you construct your thoughts systematically so that readers can understand both the big picture and the details of strategic actions.
Systematic thinking is absolutely necessary for a business leader to lead his group. Unless you show your goals and how to get there in a easy-to-understand way, your people will get lost. So I’d definitely encourage every student to learn the basics of critical thinking.
Being a good entrepreneur is often misunderstood as having the extraordinary courage to take great risks. But in reality, discipline is more important. Entrepreneurship is manageable, and most entrepreneurs are actually risk averse. They are experts in reducing investor risk.
To this end, one important concept all entrepreneurs need to understand is unit economics. Entrepreneurs need to show investors that the revenues and costs of even the smallest units can represent their business model. Investors risk their money only when they see the unit economics as healthy and scalable. Managing unit economics requires discipline, not courage.
Entrepreneurs need to be credible from an investor’s point of view, rather than just brave.
I wish every student had a good understanding of what their company brings to society beyond economic profits that come from their products or their services.
In business, we typically think of major operational functions such as R&D, procurement, manufacturing, and sales. However, if we can expand our thinking into the entire supply chain and the community, there are many ways companies can contribute.
For example, if the local government were having operational issues with the COVID-19 vaccination, a manufacturing company with operational excellence could support the planning and execution. If there were a shortage of doctors, pharmaceutical companies might send their doctors to supplement this shortage. These would be companies thinking of their local communities, using resources to fill in missing pieces in the local value chain. Not only would these companies help speed up economic recovery locally, but they’d also acquire trust and goodwill from customers in the region.
Businesspeople, whether they’re seeking an MBA or not, should all be thinking about these extended value chains.
Want more GLOBIS MBA faculty insights? Click here for more Critical Questioning.