As a young 18-year old who was just getting out of high school, I had two options in front of me. Do I enrol for a degree program, which is popularly known as the prerequisite to success? Or, do I accept the job offer I had just received from an international logistics provider in Melbourne, my hometown? Although it was a very difficult decision to make, I chose the latter – and I feel that has made all the difference in my life.
At the time, I was still unsure of what degree I wanted to pursue and felt I could return to study when I was more assured of my career. I was fortunate to have found an industry I enjoyed that helped me develop an exciting career and took me across the globe, building lifelong friendships in the process. I owe a lot to the team in Melbourne who took me in as a raw 18-year-old and mentored me across different areas of the business to help me achieve what was to come next.
Within three years, I got an opportunity to move to Los Angeles (USA) for a development program. Soon after, thanks to some closely formed relationships and the delivery of several vital projects for the team in the UK, I was able to seal my next eventual move over to London. I cannot recommend the experience of living in another country highly enough. Leaving your comfort zone can be quite difficult, but the experience you gain from living in different countries is invaluable. If you are ever offered this opportunity, you should definitely go for it!
It was in London that I started reconsidering my option to pursue a university education. While I felt my professional experience had helped me build a strong base, I couldn’t help but wonder if missing academic models and theories were hindering my development. Was I selling myself short on reaching my full potential?
Having arrived in Singapore on the most recent leg of my journey, I felt the time was right (personally and professionally) to commit. Hence, the search started! It was a daunting prospect to enrol in a business school after 20 years away from a formal classroom, and a lot of questions were running through my mind – could I handle it with a young family in the making? Am I smart enough to be in a classroom with highly accomplished peers?
My Journey into SP Jain’s Executive MBA
I was quite anxious at first. However, once I started my Executive MBA journey with SP Jain, I started noticing a positive change in me every week, and this helped me embrace this new journey. I often ask myself why it took me so long to enrol for the program – it certainly would’ve helped me immensely in building new and useful skills. However, I would still advise that you undertake a program like this only when you know you are ready. It is a great undertaking to develop yourself, and the SP Jain EMBA will definitely help you in your career – however, a program of this stature takes time and commitment, and you must understand why you are doing it.
For anyone looking to undertake the EMBA at SP Jain, here are a few suggestions that might help with your journey:
Understand why you want to undertake the program – what is your goal at the end of it? Do not make it about a piece of paper! A genuine goal will help keep your focus in tough times.
Do your research about the program and understand if it fits your needs. Before joining SP Jain, I was given an opportunity to interact with the Dean (Dr Gary Stockport) directly and discuss my expectations and goals with him. The school was also understanding about the fact that my decades of industry experience would be a valuable addition to the classroom, even though I didn’t have a formal undergraduate degree.
Talk to your family, colleagues, and friends about reduced availability. Let them understand why you may need to dedicate certain blocks each week and that you may have limited availability and priorities to undertake during this program.
Open yourself to new people and topics; move out of your comfort zone and embrace the new learning experiences! See uncertainty as a new weapon for development. Be open and genuine with your classmates, they are facing similar pressures and you will all lean on each other. (PS: Amit, thank you for the weekly stress-relieving taxi rides home! 😊)
Make use of the in-class diversity you’ll be exposed to. The SP Jain EMBA classroom is made up of diverse peers and faculty who come from varying industries, backgrounds, personalities, and cultures. It is this diversity and the resulting classroom engagement that makes it more than just an academic program and will help you build new perspectives and bonds that will last well beyond the classroom.
Use the content to help you professionally. Group sessions will help you manage and collaborate with different cultures and personalities which helps at work. The projects that you undertake in class will provide you with a chance to research topics that are industry-related and personally relevant to you.
Lastly, do not give up. Countless late nights start to snowball, do not be too hard on yourself, keep going – build a routine. Use the resources you have available, as they won’t last forever. Once you graduate, you will miss the time with your new-found friends and the stimulation you get from learning new topics.
The experience from this program has helped me become more assured and given me more confidence, professionally. More importantly, key areas that were not previously in my domain, seem less complex right now. I can already see parts of the learning rubbing off on how I am undertaking the uncertainty that surrounds COVID-19, in how we plan and undertake operations within this challenging environment.
Having now graduated with recognition on the Dean’s list, I am proud that I stuck to this journey and saw it to completion. The EMBA experience has provided plenty of learning, memories, and importantly wonderful friendships. It has been a ride that has pushed, challenged, excited, and exhausted me throughout. It is certainly not easy, however, if I can do it after 20 years away from the classroom, I am sure nothing is stopping you from taking steps to support your professional development.
A sincere thank you to the faculty at SP Jain and my classmates who may not have realised just how much they have all contributed to my development. And above all, I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to my wife and family, whose constant love and support are what helped me complete this journey successfully. I am eternally indebted to all of you!
About the author: Jason Wilson (EMBA Class of 2020)
Originally from Melbourne, Jason Wilson (EMBA 2020) has taken up a variety of positions within the Transport and Logistics Industry across international trading hubs in Australia, Asia, Europe, the UK, and the United States before joining the Executive MBA program at SP Jain.
Having worked for numerous multi-national organisations such as DHL and Toll, Jason is currently based in Singapore as the Head of eCommerce Fulfilment for Singapore Post. In this role, his responsibilities involve identifying the latest technology and solutions that can improve satisfaction and access to international markets for B2B and B2C customers worldwide.
In his spare time, Jason enjoys exploring new countries, engaging in sport, and spending time with his wife and three children.
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