What type of undergrad degree should you have before getting an MBA?

It was not really all that long ago that I completed my studies for my MBA. I remember being pretty excited at the accomplishment and thinking that it meant great and wonderful things for my career.

At the time, I was working as a cost accountant at a Fortune 500 company. How did I land that job? Good question because my undergrad is not in Accounting. Or Finance. Or even Business. It is in English and Journalism, with a minor in PoliSci.

I thought that by getting an MBA I would actually be more qualified for jobs like the one that I had as well as opening up a field of opportunities that were a bit more, well, increasing in responsibility. I was hoping to snag an Financial Analyst job somewhere, but would take an accountant job.

Along the way, I have learned something that I wish someone had told me before I got my MBA.

It doesn’t matter. Employers want to see some type of business related undergrad degree, regardless of the MBA. I have had countless interviews where I have been told “If you only had a bachelor’s in accounting…”

The kicker here is that clearly I had to go back and take all of those undergrad accounting classes as prereqs for the MBA. And even if I didn’t, wouldn’t you as an employer want someone with no accounting background that could pass graduate level accounting classes?

Now sure, there are people who can get around this because they are networking to get a job. And honestly, networking is not so much about your job qualifications as it is about your social skills.

If I had to do it all over, I would have gotten a second bachelor’s in accounting, finance or business instead of the MBA.  So, if you are thinking of getting an MBA and don’t have a business background, you may want to think over your decision carefully.

In retrospect, I see that it is a good idea to really evaluate your motivations for getting the MBA. For me, it was mostly about increasing my salary. Not the best reason to get an MBA. And I knew that accounting and finance were not my passion, yet I went ahead and got the MBA anyways.

I learned a lot of valuable things though in my MBA studies. So, am I glad I got it? In a sense, yes. I just wish it had not been so costly because everything I learned I could have gotten from a $30 paperback from Barnes & Noble.

A look at motivation

Motivation is an interesting thing.

What is interesting about it is that the things that motivate us are different for each of us. For instance, I am motivated to pay off my debt because I don’t like having my hand forced. Meaning – I want to be able to take my money and do what I wish with it instead of having to send it all off to credit card companies.

My motivation for going to college to get my undergrad degree was that it was what I was supposed to do. My motivation to keep my grades up was to keep my scholarships. Other motivation was the whole ‘need to have a degree to get a good job’ thing. Then I got out of college and have had a succession of good paying jobs that required no college degree at all.

Then I got motivated to get my MBA because of the thought of a higher salary and quite possibly an office with a door.

Getting up and going to a job I hate? The motivation for that is the debt and the thought that one day I won’t have to do that.

The motivation for getting into a healthier lifestyle? Seeing family members health deteriorate mostly due to choices that they had made to do things the unhealthy way.

Motivation for blogging? Partly a jumbled mind, partly a quest to make some extra cash online and partly because the original “When I grow up” dream involved writing for a living.

Now, if we take all of these things and asked a group of people to say what motivates them to do each of those things I am certain that the answer would be completely and totally different.

Just a search on Google shows a plethora of people that are blogging with their sole motivation being to make money online. Some of them happen to be decent writers and they actually have pretty good sites. And some of them, well, let’s just say that it is obvious that they are focusing on cash instead of anything else.

And of course, motivation can also change along the way. It is also subject to things like procrastination and laziness. Or, if we use yesterday as an example, it can be affected by external factors (electricity going out for waaaaaay too long) which then leads to emotional factors like annoyance and frustration causing a decline in motivation.

I think it is safe to say that for the most part that most of up want to keep our motivation levels high.

So, the million dollar question is: How do we maintain high levels of motivation?

I am certainly not an expert, but this is something that I have been pondering. And from thinking about it and writing this post it seems that there is one underlying thread that could maintain a constant high level of motivation were it present all of the time.

What is that one thing?

A positive attitude or outlook.

Sure, that is easier said that done. Trust me, I know. Of course being able to maintain a constant positive outlook also means that you have to have pretty decent self-esteem and self-worth so that you do not succumb to depression and such. Like I said, easier said than done, right? But if I was able to maintain a positive outlook I would not have gotten so frustrated by the lack of power yesterday. Instead I could have used the time sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air or something. Instead, I repeatedly called the electric company’ s hotline for a service restoration update. Needless to say I got practically nothing accomplished yesterday even though there were plenty of things I could have done with no electricity.

So, one of my new personal goals is to try to always have a positive attitude about things. Everything. No matter what. Well, within reason. I mean, if this was WWII era I would not be all positive about what was happening, but you know what I mean.

So, I am going to try really hard to keep that positive outlook and I am going to see how that works out for me. And I am going to try to be even more productive. It stands to reason that if I am more positive that I should be more motivated to get things done and should therefore be more productive.


Debt has really strong shackles and chains

Do you ever find yourself having to do something just because of your debt?

For instance, do you have to take a job that pays well over a job that you are interested in or that you have a passion for?

Do you have to forgo an exotic vacation because you can’t afford it because of your credit card payments?

Do you find yourself spending all of your hard earned money on bill payments instead of savings or things that you would like to spend your money on?

Um, pretty much all of those are me right now.

Today I had to waste 3 hours getting an employment assessment with the unemployment office in order to keep getting my unemployment checks (more on that tomorrow!). It was a complete and total waste of time, but I had to go because I need the money from the unemployment checks. Luckily I had two messages about potential jobs when I got home!

I have hated my recent jobs. And the types of jobs that I am interviewing for – I know I’m going to hate those too because they are all the same types of positions. Sadly, I do not have a lot of choice at this point as debt dictates that I need the highest paying job possible. My current unemployment stint is only making that even more the case.

Sure, I could get two lower paying jobs and come out the same in the end. However, I’m not doing that because it would be many more work hours. Before I became unemployed I was making a little extra cash online, which was going towards the debt so that I could stop working jobs I hate.

Ah, debt is a vicious cycle.  And the shackles and chains are way strong.

I plan on breaking those shackles and chains though. I have declared war on debt.

Hopefully it will not be quite the long and drawn out war that Bush currently has the US troops fighting overseas. Nope, I want a nice quick war against debt.

After having to go to the dreadful thing I went to today I was left with one thought – this has got to change.

I have got to annihilate the debt now! Sure, I’ve known it was there and I have even been focused on it. It’s all out war now. I never want to have my hand forced again just because of debt.

So, what am I going to do about it?

First, I am gonna hit the job hunt full force. I admit, I have been kind of doing it a bit half-ass these past few weeks. I;ve just gotten into a bit of a routine. I get the unemployment, I make a little money on eBay and I watch some Law & Order reruns on cable.  It’s a nice routine, but it’s getting me nowhere fast.

Then, I am going to start looking for ways to make extra cash online and other ways. I’ve been published in magazines before, so I will start looking for opportunities like that. I will also start looking for things like paid reviews or maybe even for advertisers for this or some of my other sites.

I might even consider looking for something at the mall for the weekends. It’s the holiday season so a lot of places will be hiring. That means it should not be too difficult to find something – provided I can handle working two jobs. I guess that will depend on what I get for my primary job.

And I am going to squeeze out all the non-necessities out of my spending. I’m going to try to not go to the grocery store (except for produce and milk) until my pantry is completely bare. If there is only taco sauce, peanut butter and rice then I guess I will be eating rice with taco sauce and peanut butter! (eww, maybe not)

I’m keeping the high speed internet but I’m turning the cable off! It might only save $10 a month, but that is something. And in my past experience, if you have high speed cable internet you can usually still get regular basic cable on your television. If not, oh well, I’ll miss you Law & Order reruns.

That’s all I can think of for now. Have you declared war on your debt? Have any tips for other measures I can take in my war on debt? If so, let me know!