What to learn from an MBA

Yesterday, I attended another MBA pre-daparture seminar presented by the CEO of Accenture Japan, Mr. Chikatomo Hodo. 

Hodo-san joined Accenture after he graduated with an Engineering bachelor degree from Stanford University. Later he quit his job for MBA study in University of Columbia. He didn’t think of returning to Accenture after the MBA, but a coincidence meet with his former boss at an escalator (in a train station?) changed his mind. He returned to Accenture and become the CEO in 2006.

Just some notes of his talk yesterday.

What he took away from the MBA

1)       Health : become more health conscious and routinely doing sports
2)       Common language: not just English, but also the understanding of different culture and idea
3)       Finance knowledge: able to judge a company by numbers
4)       Discussion skill: able to actively participate in the discussion, know when to lead, when to follow, and how to guide the discussion to desired conclusion
5)       Contacts: his school location in NY provides lots of chance to meet the prominent figures not only from the business fields, but also politics, NGO, academic etc.

What he thinks he should have done in the MBA but didn’t

1)       Take other undergraduate subjects besides the MBA subjects.
2)       Go to the developing country for exchange program. (As he said, the economic centric is moving towards the developing countries from developed countries.
3)       Learning other language – Chinese, Spanish etc.
4)       Learning art – music, dance, pure art, liberal art etc.

The characteristics of a Global Business Leader

1)       Individualized MACRO view – poses own Macro view for decision making
2)       Enjoy risk-taking – keep challenging, no gain comes without risk. But the important thing is to ENJOY. Enjoy the good outcome, and even enjoy the failure, because it is where you can learn from.
3)       Passion – a passion to the job, to the people and to the society
4)       Communication skill, flexibility, professionalism

What to do for self improvement

1)       Self reflection – reflect every 3 years. If you found you did not stretch in the past 3 years, means that you should seek a change instead of staying in the current position.
2)       Design & stretch – understand your capability, design the steps to achieve your aspiration, and stretch yourself with every little step.
3)       Network & Connecting Dots – building a reliable relationship with friends, colleagues, business partners etc. The dots you created at different moments will connect themselves at last.  

Hodo-san closed his presentation with the famous speech by Steve Jobs in the Commencement Address at Stanford University.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Well, I do believe that what I have achieved so far is a consequence of the connection of what I did before. However, since there are so many choices available in this Informatics Age, I always try to make easy life by predefine what is relevant and what is not relevant before I decide what to do. This is important for time management as well as for "life efficiency", but at the other hand, there is also a hidden opportunity cost by turning down some of the “irrelevant” choices, which probably an important “dot” in my life.

Back to the school, I think I should be GREEDY again! Doing all kinds of study, participating in all kinds of activities, meeting all kinds of people, and grasping all kinds of opportunities. And who knows, these will be the essential dots for me to connect from the past to the future!