Whether you’re considering an MBA, starting your MBA this Fall, or preparing for Year 2, somewhere (or everywhere) in the process you’ve considered the return on your investment. At that point you may turn to hiring statistics, salaries and discussions about upward career mobility. These are all fantastic end goals – but on a more immediate timeline, the MBA offers some unique and unexpected rewards.

For Ehsanul, the (surprisingly) most valuable tool he is taking from his first year of the MBA is humility. Learn why below!

Why My MBA Has Been Worth It (so far!)

by Ehsanul Mahmud, MBA candidate
as published on LinkedIn

After the initial spark of inspiration fades out, just about every person pursuing an MBA asks her/himself the following question…

Is this MBA worth my time and money?

Within a few months, some courses begin to take a toll. Group assignments get more and more difficult to coordinate. Some might start thinking about all of the educational content available on the internet for free. Then, some start to think about those rare but glamorous entrepreneurial examples of stunning success. Why bother with an MBA? As someone who is half-done with my candidacy at the Schulich School of Business, the most useful thing I have learned is the importance of humility.

Humility in looking for a solution

The MBA is all about dealing with incomplete information, and using it to get to a conclusion; often, there is no perfect answer. Thus, there are many paths that can be taken to get to the conclusion. Whenever I have worked in a group, some of the best insights have come from the most unexpected places, ranging from a groupmate’s love for branded clothing, to another’s challenges with raising children. Being placed in an MBA-environment has taught me to better listen, instead of simply waiting for my turn to speak.

Humility in expanding my knowledge

During my undergraduate degree, I mostly interacted with people who were of my age. The MBA has been completely different. I’ve had the opportunity to meet men and women from all around the world who have more than ten years of work experience (compared to my measly three). Some are engineers, some are bankers and some are doctors. I have had the pleasure of working with a professor and a retired elementary school principal. Being exposed to such a variety of people and being put on equal footing with them has made me realize my own shortcomings and feel humble about my abilities. Online videos and tutorials, while being very effective tools for absorbing technical information, cannot open my mind the same way interacting with my extraordinary classmates has been able to do.

The foundations for exercising humility

While my MBA experience sounds delightful, it has been facilitated by the use of certain tools. Before beginning any collaborative activity, we have been taught to set certain ground rules to establish a sense of respect, and maintain a sense of focus; it is easy to get sidetracked when brainstorming for ideas. Setting ground rules allows members to speak up, but prevents a specific individual from dominating others who are exercising humility. Simple things such as setting deadlines, taking turns and choosing a discussion moderator can work wonders.


All in all, these are the things I have learned beyond each course’s syllabus. I’ll be back after two semesters to tell you what else I end up learning.