MBAs are here to fix a problem

Dr Meera Radia MBA, an NHS Clinical Entrepreneur, Governor of Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and Strategy Consultant for IQVIA, provides an insight into the importance of MBAs for modern business leaders. She recently completed a Masters of Business Administration at Quantic School of Business and Technology.

Success stories of modern leaders tend to follow a similar narrative. A maverick engineer, hot-shot sales person or visionary marketer climbs the corporate ladder, and their individual genius inspires their team to achieve great things. For anyone wanting to become an effective manager, a cursory glance through your LinkedIn feed would tell you to specialise in an area (the deeper and more narrow the better), become an industry reference, and then co-workers will fall into line as they follow your singular vision through thick and thin.

Unfortunately, despite being an extremely attractive narrative to follow, it doesn’t reflect real-world experience. What defines a good manager or leader is not their ability to do their job better than everyone else, but to enable their co-workers to do their job better. If we look at the world of sports (and who doesn’t love a business-sports metaphor?), the best players of an era rarely make the best head coaches. As a player, Maradona was an unmatched genius. As a manager, less so. The reason for this is the same as it is in the corporate world: Leadership is a collection of skills to be mastered, which are completely independent of your other expertise.

Think about your favourite boss, and ask yourself what made them good at leading? Chances are it’s not that they could manipulate an excel formula without looking on Google, or could close a prospect on a cold call within 20 minutes. Good management instead is usually measured by a wide range of traits like making good decisions, being empathetic, driving cooperation across departments and elevating the work of the people around them.

Enter the MBA

If you’re an outstanding specialist harbouring managerial ambitions, then this might feel like bad news. After spending a career devoted to mastering a complex skill, you find management is about having a broad set of completely new skills. So how do you successfully move from specialist to generalist? A well-designed MBA program is one solution. These programs develop the skill sets needed for leadership, while also giving candidates a necessary understanding of broad business principles, including operations, marketing and sales.

What was once the domain of finance and management consulting, is fast becoming the standard across all industries. Tech companies in particular are hiring more people with MBAs, which reflects the demand of both employers and employees to broaden a skillset suitable for success across entire companies, rather than a single job role.

Tom Adams, co-founder and CEO of Quantic explains; “An MBA is currently the only advanced degree that offers professionals who excel in their speciality a generalist degree and sufficient understanding of the business to take the right decisions as a manager or as a leader. Adams continues; “We are seeing increasing interest from businesses who are spotting their high-potential employees, and then asking the question ‘What do we need to do as a business to support these people to grow?’. The answer for most of these forward-thinking companies is tuition sponsorship for an MBA program.” As the ultimate beneficiary of their employees’ ability to lead and manage the business, the investment these companies are making to develop their talent, to encourage them to take the leap from specialist to generalist, is worth it.

Meera Radia is a prime example of a specialist turned generalist. She is an ophthalmology doctor whose career demonstrates the importance of acquiring wider business knowledge. Having completed an MBA with Quantic, between medical posts Meera has been able to work as a strategy consultant to the pharmaceutical industry as well as develop a telemedicine app (https://pocket-eye.com) to help improve access to specialist eye care. “I first heard about Quantic during a break in a night shift in ICU at the peak of the pandemic,” Meera explains. “It turns out there are lots of doctors studying for an MBA. I am part of a network of digital clinicians – there are a growing number of medics interested in the potential for technology to be used to improve the lives of patients. But doctors need to understand so much more outside of their specialism in order to turn an idea into a functioning offering that works, which is where the MBA comes in. Through the MBA I have gained knowledge about how a business works, about strategy, operation – subjects that just aren’t covered by the medical school curriculum. That knowledge has been essential both to my work as a strategy consultant and in setting up my own business.”

While Meera’s employer wasn’t the one to spark her interest in the MBA, companies should take note of the confidence, leadership and motivation an MBA can impart. Just imagine what businesses could do by empowering full teams with this level of expertise.

Find out more at https://quantic.edu.

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