Are MBAs Worth It? It depends on many factors, such as whether you have the money, the time and the willingness to commit.
In 2015, I enrolled in the University of Florida’s online MBA program, while working full time in finance. The degree cost me $ 60,000 and lasted two years, but it gave me the confidence to take business risks, improved my decision-making skills, expanded my network, and even increased my salary.
He also taught me several fascinating and valuable lessons. Here are the ones that helped me the most:
1. Contracts don’t have to be complicated
Having a contract for any business transaction you enter into can save you emotional distress and financial loss. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a close friend or family member – anything that involves some of your time and money should come with a contract.
Plus, the simple act of offering a contract is a good stress test: if the other party gives long-term reasons not to sign, you should probably move on.
Even a short, simple handwritten letter can go a long way. Here are the most essential items to include:
- The offer “: Something must be proposed.
- Taking into account”: Something has to be exchanged for it (usually money, otherwise it’s a gift or a promise, rather than a contract).
- An “acceptance”: Both parties must agree to the terms of the contract.
- The “mutuality”: Both parties must agree to the terms and understand that they have entered into a contract.
The three key components of Aristotle persuasion, which I learned in my Business Writing and Negotiation course, gave me the tools and methods I needed to be successful in selling myself and convincing people. :
- Ethos (ethics): State your moral position and your credibility.
Example: “I am a wife, a mother and a taxpayer. I served faithfully for 20 years on the school board. I deserve your vote for [X]. “
- Pathetic (emotion): Harness the emotional impact of your argument.
Example: “My opponent wants to hurt [X] doing [X]. Imagine how frustrated you would be if [X] had to happen. “
- Logos (logic): Frame your message with facts, such as evidence, analogies, statistics, or even what-if scenarios.
Example: “We don’t have enough money to pay for improvements to [X]. And without improvements, the [X] system will falter and thus hamper our economy. Therefore, we should do [X] pay for better [X]. “
More than once I have been to a store and looked at rows of the same product in different colors, brands and sizes. They all seemed like good options, but I felt crippled and couldn’t decide.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz captured this experience perfectly in his book “The Paradox of Choice”, in which he argues that the more choices people have, the more likely they are to be dissatisfied with their choices later, or to feel stuck and stuck. not to make a choice. a choice at all.
The number of options you present to a customer is extremely important and can affect your bottom line. Don’t overwhelm them.
4. Time in the market beats the pace of the market
In business school, we reviewed a study with a a simple idea that comes up in my head every time I make an investment decision: Investors who buy and hold tend to do much better than those who trade often.
Our professor quoted legendary investor Warren Buffett, who wrote in his 1991 letter to shareholders that “the stock market serves as a relocation center where money is transferred from assets to patients.”
I know, it’s not sexy. But that was also the message from Jack Bogle, the founder of index fund giant Vanguard Group: “Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy. Whenever the markets were down and anxiety increased, his advice was “don’t just do something, stay there”.
5. How to be a better negotiator
Advanced Negotiations was one of the most difficult courses I took, in part because it pitted students against each other – and the results affected our grades.
In one case, I represented Canadian zoos and wanted to borrow pandas from Chinese zoos. Calculating the cost and duration of panda visits caused a long stalemate between me and my classmate.
But it taught me a few things about how to get what I want:
- Statistically, the first person to bid in a negotiation tends to do better (they “anchor” their number first). But if you get too greedy, it could sour the other part and hurt you.
- Before entering into a negotiation, plan scenarios: what are all the things that could happen? How will you react? What are your starting conditions?
- Touch things that will benefit the other person and what you can easily give to them. Try to fit everything into your deal in the form of negotiation: “I can’t offer this salary, but I can let you work from home if you want. “
The ideal position is for both parties to walk away and feel like they have the deal of the century.
Sean kernan is a writer and former financial analyst. Follow him on twitter @seanjkernan.