How To Answer Why MBA – The Ikigai Way

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”, said Mark Twain.

Flashback to last year. You’d find me squished among the fellow software engineers on a bus passing Silk road at the height of rush hour. I would recall the last time the I was happy about my day, the last time I really loved what I was doing every day and the last time crowd clapped for me when I was on stage. But there I was, just another member of the crowd in that bus. I was the picture of burnout, wondering if I should really go for MBA. But I was sure about one thing – living this way was not sustainable.

What is Ikigai? 

Let’s take a Japanese detour.

Like many Sanskrit words, there is no direct and simple translation of the word ‘Ikigai’. Ikigai can be explained in the form of the question – “What makes you jump up out of bed each morning?”. It is the idea that life is more than job title, status and money. This concept is a lot different from the usual motivational rhetoric – Follow your passion.  Instead, it tells you to find happiness in everyday activities. Even when a person is chopping onions, the wrist moves in delightful rhythm with the knife. In the process, the person not only makes oneself useful but also becomes instrumental in raising the overall tempo of the action.

Now, let’s see how the Ikigai framework will help you assess the question – ‘Why MBA’?

 

Ikigai

 

As you see in the figure, Ikigai can be visualized as the intersection of answers to these four questions:

  1. What do you love?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What can you be paid for?
  4. What does the world need?

Steps To Find Your Ikigai

Step 1: Answer the above questions honestly.

Step 2: If the answers to the above question did not spark much insight into answering your question of MBA. Try these questions to get more clarity in the answers specific to MBA.

  1. If you were concerned about the money, status, would you still go for MBA?
  2. With some more education in MBA and experience in B school, can you excel as a manager?
  3. Are you not already making a good living? Can you eventually make a good living after MBA?
  4. Will an MBA degree increase your value tremendously?
  5. Are you helping solve an actual problem after your MBA?
  6. Could you enthusiastically talk about management as a profession for hours together?

Step 3: If your answer is “yes” to four or more questions to the questions in step 2, iterate and ask the same questions over and again. When you are truly convinced with the “yes” answers, congratulate yourself for finding your Ikigai – the reason for being.

Ikigai framework is not a magical tool to find the purpose of ones’ life. Purpose, per se, evolves over a period of time. However, Ikigai entails a fulfilling profession not only on a professional scale but also on a spiritual angle. Of course, to whoever bothers to wake up in the morning!

MAHANTESH S GOUDAR

Studies MBA at IIM Ranchi; Armchair thinker; Half-baked artist; loves reading classics; Part-time blogger; I write on anything that catches my eyes and prick my brain, known as Indian Batman on Twitter.

Comments

26 comments

MAHANTESH S GOUDAR

My work of writing this article realises satisfaction if it helped to give you a new insight, a new way ahead.

insomnia sleepless

I have been meaning to learn about Ikigai since a long time. This article provided a great insight to it. Good work!

MAHANTESH S GOUDAR

I’m delighted to hear that my article helped you with insights on Ikigai. Ikigai is a powerful framework to find ones reason for being. This article of mine is a mere direction to the path to explore it. You can always learn more about ikigai by exploring in google. I’m glad that I’m of a bit of help to you in that direction.

Aabharani Javali

Indeed your Ikigai way motivates me to find my reason for being. Quite inspiring way of writing.

mj1234007

It’s Really Cool Bro …

Keep sharing informations like this and enlighten the world …

MAHANTESH S GOUDAR

Thank you for your compliments.
Although I am insignificant to enlighten another soul, I’d be happy to share my own thoughts and experiences which may help in making a better decision to a fellow human being.

Nikkie Rockzz

This is something that i can relate to myself and I have concluded that MBA is not my cup of tea. I find this Ikigai in programming and perhaps its fine for me. If u works for 10 hours on something and still u have the same enthusiasm then thats your ikigai

MAHANTESH S GOUDAR

Yeah. Ikigai is more about discovering what you love to do. My idea was to apply the framework to make decision to choose MBA. You found your ikigai in coding. One can apply it to anything and get the reason for being 🙂
In the end all that matters is – are you doing the same thing that is same as your reason for being.