Do you have a WIG (wildly important goal)?

What’s an MBA anyway? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a variety of answers:

  1. Monumental opportunity
  2. Major time commitment
  3. Huge jump in student loans
  4. All of the above

An MBA is these things, but it’s also more than that. An MBA is a chance to accelerate your path, helping you get where you want to go. Is it worth it? It depends on many factors, but here are three questions to ask in considering the degree.

Do you have a WIG (wildly important goal)?

A WIG is the most relevant and important goal in your foreseeable future. If you don’t have one, start brainstorming possible WIGs and see which ones fit the best. You’ll want to set a WIG that’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Having a WIG is one thing but using it is something else.

To hit your goal by next year what do you need to have done this year? How far along do you need to be by the mid-point? What are the skills you’ll need to have to deliver on these things? Can an MBA help you get those skills? Using a WIG means that there will be important opportunities that you pass up. Saying no to good opportunities is a good thing as long as you’ve done your homework.

Are you aiming high enough?

The biggest mistake I see people make when enrolling in an MBA program is to think of it as a piece of paper, or a slight raise to their base pay. When making your go/no go decision I’d challenge you to think bigger.

Sam Wyly, a successful entrepreneur in the 60s and 70s, encountered this firsthand in high school football. Every year their team would face the rival school from Tallulah, and every year their team would lose. The team’s goal became to beat Tallulah and eventually one year they did, only to get demolished in the state tournament. If the team had a better WIG beating Tallulah would have just one stop not their final destination.

Can you put in the time?

An MBA is only what you make out of it. Doing the bare minimum isn’t fair to yourself. You won’t need to spend 80 hours a week on school, but make sure that you put in whatever time you do need. Even if the upside of an MBA can help dramatically accelerate your path, you still need to put in the time to develop those skills.

Bottom line: If you answered yes to the questions above, then an MBA could be a good fit, a true chance to never stop learning. Ultimately, whether your degree is a great growth opportunity or just a piece of paper comes down to one factor: You.

Sean Higgins

Sean Higgins '12, '14 M.B.A. is co-founder of ilos Videos. You don't need to be first: Microsoft didn't make the first OS or word processor, Apple didn't make the first mobile device. You need to be better, 10x better, to help the customer in a way that matters. That's where I come in. I work with customers during implementation and afterwards to find which solutions/improvements matter and which ones don't. Making changes for the sake of making changes isn't innovative; it's crazy.