Who knew?

Whew. My head is still spinning from all the information I got yesterday about potential careers for MBAs – and I don’t think it’s because I have a fever of 100 this morning.

Yesterday from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. I listened to MBAs talk about their work in general management (i.e. joining a big corporation and working your way up) and finance (everything money and investing).

I went in not expecting much. I was 99.9 percent sure I didn’t want a career in finance and about 75 percent unsure what general management actually meant, so I wasn’t expecting light bulbs and fireworks and a big neon sign that said, “This is it! This is your FUTURE CAREER!”

Unfortunately, none of that happened. I’m still waiting for that moment of Zen clarity. But in the meantime I learned a ton about careers I’d heard of but never really understood. For instance, do you know what a private banker actually does all day? How an investment manager gets paid? How about a private equity group? I do. And I’m sure you’re jealous.

A couple things surprised me.

One was private banking, which is essentially banking, investing and estate planning for the uber-rich. If I had any skills in this area, I think it would be a good match. I like working with people, building a relationship and doing research into their messy lives to figure out the best options. It actually sounded kind of cool.

The other surprise was general management, which I had a tenuous grasp on at best. The people we heard from were on the general management track at large corporations (you’ve heard of them, believe me). The idea seemed to be to get a lot of experience in different areas of the business as you move up the hierarchy. The good part? You learn a lot, maybe enough to run your own business one day. The bad part (at least in a huge company)? You might just be learning how to function in a big company. Huh.

So the career search goes on and on and on.

Two funny moments from yesterday:

One of the general management guys referred to his decision about when to have kids as “the family structure and how it comes together.” Lord help me if I ever refer to my offspring as “the family structure.”

The private banking rep said the economic crash last year made some of his clients jumpy about their investments. “Forget the cash. I want gold. And I want gold at my house,” he said they told him. “We had a lot of conversations with very sophisticated clients about the world is coming to an end.”


About missmba

What happens when a language-loving, mathphobic liberal arts major goes jumps on the MBA train. Follow my adventures at a top 20 business school.
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