Personal Reflections On MBA

Personal Reflections on an MBA Education

MBA 642 – Influencing Organizational Change

Andy Gruenbaum

June 3, 1999

PDP Progress Report

Due to my position being eliminated at Applied Innovation nearly a year ago, some of my original goals were not achievable in the manner described in my PDP report. Fortunately, my resourcefulness came to the rescue.

  • I have maintained my subscriptions to a number of Internet publications and have continued to participate in a variety of Internet news resources delivered to my email account. All of these resources have enabled me to stay current with trends within the Internet market.
  • I had hoped to continue leading a small group at Applied Innovation, but I have replaced that group with greater involvement in the Ohio Area Cold Fusion User’s Group. As the secretary of this group, I am expected to understand the technical, which I do, but I am not responsible for providing demonstrations to educate attendees.
  • The user group has also provided a great source of business contacts. These contacts have been a source of many of my projects during the MBA program. I hope to convert these projects into paying consulting assignments after graduation.
  • Previously, I have not been pleased in my attention to detail. Over the past year, in my role as a consultant, I have been very conscientious in documenting all the activities I performed for the clients. I believe these efforts provided an excellent opportunity to reinforce my latent attention to detail.

Professional Change Assessment

As was stated above, over the past year I unexpectedly switched employers. Although this provided a series of challenges, it also allowed for a time to reflect on the course of my professional development. The accomplishments listed below are key factors in helping me stay on course.

  • As a regular employee and as a consultant, I have proven very good at synthesizing information very quickly from a variety of information sources. Whether I am talking to the technical, marketing or human resource person, I am able to bring the Internet into a language they understand. The MBA has affirmed my desire to become a businessperson in a technical environment instead of being only a technical person. It has also affirmed my belief that although there is a great need for personnel who can be a liaison between the business and technical units, few people possess the skill set to do this effectively.
  • Through team and class interaction, I have developed a greater appreciation for the differences between the many different positions within a company. Additionally, I have gained an understanding of the politics and cultures found within a wide variety of organizations.
  • When my position was eliminated at Applied Innovation, I immediately had a network of people I could contact to help me seek a suitable position within their organizations. Prior to the MBA program, I did not have the same quality of business network. Now, I have a couple of dozen people who would be glad to help me find opportunities within their organizations. Besides being a source for many of my MBA projects, it was also invaluable in providing me with consulting projects as I searched for a full-time permanent position. Without a doubt, maintaining a strong professional network is one of the most important aspects of assuring my continued success.
  • Prior to the MBA program, I saw my role of webmaster only as a glorified programmer. I now take a much larger view of this role. As a webmaster, I am certainly a programmer, but I am also a person who is responsible for communicating and presenting information in a wide variety of ways. When I interact with the marketing or human resources department, I have to understand the business process before I can effectively propose a solution. Fortunately, the growth of the web over the past two years has also allowed me to target web positions that are not as technical and more business focused.
  • Prior to beginning the MBA program, I thought that the position of project manager would be boring and tedious. Over the last two years, as I have become more detail and planning oriented, I think the ultimate direction I want to take my career is either as a project manager for Internet projects or a product line manager for an Internet-based product. I see both of these positions using my business and technical web background very effectively.
  • The MBA is the culmination of my academic and professional experiences over the past two years. I cannot turn the MBA skills off. When I write any paper or look at any problem, I hear quotes and anecdotes that I have heard in class and during team meetings over the past two years. I cannot separate those from myself. They have been integrated into my consciousness. I intend to use all of the MBA lessons learned in every personal or professional encounter I may have.

Personal Change Assessment

  • When my position was eliminated at Applied Innovation, it dealt my ego quite a blow. After getting over the initial shock, I was very pleased that I had embarked on the MBA journey the year before. Without the MBA, I would have seen the previous year as a time when I stagnated professionally. The MBA program provided a positive factor on which I could focus as I interviewed for a new position. Despite the blow to my confidence, the program allowed me to be confident about my professional future and myself.
  • Because of the MBA, I am much better at juggling my time. As I complete school and home projects, multi-tasking seems almost second nature to me. As I have balanced the needs of my sons and my wife against my career and the MBA program, I have developed time management techniques to try to ensure I am always properly prioritizing my time.
  • The combination of the many personality tests and the large amount of group activities have given me greater understanding of the personal and professional environments in which I believe I will be most successful. I now have a better idea where I can most effectively contribute within a group.
  • As I compare the results of the Fall 1997 HBDI and the Spring 1999 HBDI, I see very little difference. Although my thinking has changed very little on paper, I am certain some changes have occurred. These changes, however subtle, give me the hope that my thinking processes can continue to improve.
  • Since I have done consulting work for the past year and have had a number of employers, I have had to be very resourceful in completing my MBA projects during that time. On more then one occasion, my classmates have referred to me as “scrappy”; I think they are right. I will fight for every point and resort to a high level of creativity when necessary to complete a project. I believe this trait was present before, but the program has provided a venue where its presence has become more readily apparent.
  • Participating in the MBA program has given me greater personal confidence. By me completing the MBA, especially under the strains of being a married, working father, I can respect myself for the personal sacrifices I was willing to endure to add the additional credential to my resume. In addition, I am proud of the GPA I have maintained.
  • Prior to beginning the MBA program, my opinions were very pronounced. As I prepare to leave the MBA, I still have strong opinions. Hopefully, however, I am more aware of the contributions those with different thinking styles can provide.
  • Over the past two years, I have had to sacrifice my involvement in many activities. These sacrifices have made me realize the enjoyment I get from them. As the MBA ends, I plan on incorporating the more important activities back into my life and adding some new ones.

Developmental Targets

  • Regardless of whether my wife and I have additional children, I want to create freedom within our careers where either my wife or I can provide all of our children’s needs without the use of organized daycare. To do this, I will either become a free-lance consultant or continue full-time employment while engaging in part-time consulting activities. My initial target in reaching this goal will be to complete a minimum of three paid Internet consulting assignments over the next year while maintaining my full-time day job.
  • With my MBA responsibilities behind me, I want to be more involved in my sons’ activities. I also want to set a good example for my sons by being involved in church or other volunteer activities. At a minimum, I want to be involved in one additional church activity within the next year.
  • My primary professional goal is to find job contentment. If a less technical web position develops at Victoria’s Secret, I will take such an opportunity. If I need to go somewhere else for such an opportunity within the next year, I will do so, but only if it allows me to move closer to my professional goals. I want to find a position that is satisfying and enjoyable.
  • I want to make a commitment to mentoring someone with whom I work. Through my various job experiences, class attendance and a variety of group activities, I have seen the strengths and weaknesses of many companies. If I can help guide someone or at the very least expose someone to the written and unwritten rules of a company over the next year, I will consider this goal successful.
  • Lastly, I want to read a book of fiction each month. It can be science fiction or a mystery or whatever, I just want to bring this simple pleasure back into my life.

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