2011 is a very special year for Arcadia University of Pennsylvania. This is the year when the university vested the MBA degree to its first cohort of graduates in Singapore.
However, this year is not only special for Arcadia University but more for us, the MBA students who worked hard to complete all academic requirements to acquire our MBA degree.
For the whole year, from Sept 2010 till August 2011, we all literally burned all our week-ends and work-week evenings to attend actual classes, catch up with our textbook readings, complete our individual assignments, meet up with our teams for our team assignments or study for an exam or presentation. Personally, for a fully employed student with a very demanding work and family to also deal with together with my MBA studies, I can honestly confess that when we were on our third subject, I was about to give up. But thanks to all of my wonderful classmates and supportive team mates- I was able to push on and continue until I reached the finish line—with all of you!
I cannot forget our first class-wide night out too. The same evening right after the last subject was concluded, we, the first cohort students together with Professor Tony Muscia walked from our classroom straight to Alley Bar to celebrate the conclusion of our final class. Yes, after a year of hard work and perseverance, we finally made it!
I had spoken to some of you before we bid our farewells that night at Alley Bar. I found out that although we all have different mixed feelings at that time, all of us also shared the same feeling of great relief and sense of achievement. We all felt so relieved that we had completed all our academic requirements and we all looked forward to regaining back our week-ends to be spent with our respective families, friends, leisure week-end travelling or just spending quiet time on our own. Therefore, in my mind, I realized that the real cost of an MBA degree is not even quantifiable. It is not just the tuition fees we paid to the university but also the unquantifiable cost of the many days we spent studying deliberately away from our loved ones and the stress, tears and perspiration we shed in the process.
But why did we take this MBA degree anyway? Each of us has different answers to this same question. Most of us took this degree to enhance their CV and get promotion or bigger responsibilities in their workplaces. Others say that with bigger responsibilities, higher pay would follow. For myself, my reason is very pragmatic and straightforward. I want to literally be a “master of business administration” because I want to leave my job someday and be “the master of my own business.” My husband would always smile when he hears me say this. And I had not been offended even once because I know that behind his smile is the understanding and support which he had constantly given me as I pursue the realization of my dream.
And what’s next? Now that we had finished this degree with the Arcadia flag on our hand flying with colors, where do we go from here? And how would we make sure that the colors of the Arcadia flag that we are now holding would not fade?
The answer is simple: let’s continue to join hands in organizing a dynamic alumni association. With the same camaraderie and team spirit that grew amongst us during our studies, we can surely work together to start this alumni association and keep it alive as we move forward to achieve our mission and vision. Altogether, we can ensure that our association we will be able to promote the increase in value of our MBA degree. Yes, our association may be able to market and organize events and activities to showcase our strength as an association.
However, how we will do this depend on each of us. We can strive to achieve excellence in our own fields of interest and workplaces. We can also start making difference in our respective communities. We can also support greater and bigger endeavors for the betterment of the greater humanity. Indeed, there are a lot of things we can do on our own or as an association to increase the value of our MBA degree.
As I mentioned earlier, the real value of our MBA degree is unquantifiable. Its real value is a combination of all our hard work, commitment, dedication and perseverance. Lets all see this degree as an investment which we need to grow and leverage. As I said, our association may help but the rest depends on each of us.