When I’m interacting with classmates in my MBA program, especially when I’m meeting someone new, I am often asked “what is your concentration?” Many people answer that they are pursuing the finance track, or economics, or perhaps operations. I say that I am pursuing the management and leadership concentrations (they are two separate ones).
I have to admit that I always feel a bit like an underachiever when I answer that way. Like back in my undergrad days when I said I was majoring in History. There was always this dangling question of “oh, and what is your “real” major?” Now it’s as if learning about management is some kind of fall-back or perhaps even illegitimate field of study for someone getting an MBA.
Part of this is because I am in fact not very good at finance or economics, though I’m deeply interested in both. I would love to be able to gauge beta and risk and how to create arbitrage scenarios while managing a hedge fund, or spend my day (seriously – my entire day) looking at how macro-economic policies shift our currency trends and overall national conditions.
But, those aren’t my strengths. I’m not sure I’m a great leader or manager so maybe my strengths aren’t there, either, but “running things” is something I’ve generally been good at since I was in high school. Allocating resources, creative problem-solving, working with others – that’s just breathing to me, most of the time. In the end, it may turn out I’m a management asthmatic, but for now I feel it’s what I’m good at, and it’s what I am pursuing.
But it is kind of weird to say that I’m studying how to be better at management. Too broad or something.