“Mazlyn, why are you doing MBA?” a question I am asked more frequently these past few days due to my own solution of making a win-win situation out of facebook addiction & upcoming MBA exams (that is, to share my revision in my status updates).
Why would a doctor want to do MBA? What could a doctor possibly gain from obtaining MBA?
These were the same questions my previous boss and (current and… one & only) husband asked.
Since I enrolled in the course, everyone including my (x?) students, my medical colleagues, my business partners, my non medical colleagues, my facebook friends, my children and even my mother, has asked those very same questions.
The answer of course, is always very long-winded (as you might have guessed by now).
When I was in medschool (wow, it goes back that far; even I’m surprised by this), I had a good friend who was a Sarawakian (is this the correct term?) and also the youngest of 14 children. This friend was an top medical student in a very reputable medschool (different to the one I graduated from, we crossed paths when I was doing my electives).
I asked my friend (and I love asking all medical students and doctors the same question), why did you choose medicine? Apparently this friend came from a wealthy family, and all the other 13 siblings were successful business people. The logical thing to do was join the family business (no?). The answer was (shocking to me) “anyone can become successful in business, but not everyone can be a doctor”. (I’m sure there are many people out there who disagree with this, thus the disclaimer; not my opinion).
That was the first encounter that planted seeds of interest in me to learn about business. Medicine had always been somebody else’s dream, not mine, (not that hate it or anything is wrong with it), but as my friend continued to explain, it is very difficult to ‘expand’ a doctors business because you can’t duplicate a non-existent system. (The doctor is the system).
This spark led me to buy and read books about business. As soon as I graduated, I wanted to do MBA. I found one University which offered the course, called them, and they said to come back after I had two years work experience. If not, the course will not make any sense. Looking back, I completely agree with them.
Then I got sidetracked into taking postgraduate medical exams (how did that happen?)
When I finally joined a university, after I had settled, in I met up with the Dean and asked him if I could do MBA. He said ‘in your own time and with your own money’. In other words, he was not very supportive but did not stop me either. Timing wasn’t great because my husband too had just started his postgraduate training. I decided just to work and temporarily forget about MBA.
So as soon as hubby finished, coincidentally the second university I worked in launched MBA program with 50% staff discount. Although the university is in Subang, the degree is conferred by the twinning university of West of England. Lecturers fly in for the one week duration of classes. Then you study or prepare assignments as per module for the next seven weeks before the start of a new module.
I asked my boss, he said ‘I think it should be encouraged’. Then I asked my husband and he asked the same two questions above (in the opening paragraphs). I told him it was because I want to learn about business and that it was one of my dreams. Two green lights later, I had paid the discounted fees and was officially = MBA student.
I was very enthusiastic in the beginning. I sat in front, answered all the questions (albeit wrongly), took down notes furiously med school style, then after three modules deferred for the first time. I resumed sometime later and then deferred for the second time.
The decision to carry on was not easy. My husband just said ‘finish it’, and here I am, writing on my facebook wall, why I am subjecting myself to this unnecessary torture which I love.See More
  • Vasanthi Palani i almost asked you this question myself Maz…lucky you have given the answer :o)
  • Selva Raja Some things cannot b explained. Silence n time is the best answer of the future domino effect, on ur past birth n new reincarnation of the next fullfilment of ur birth story
  • Mazlyn Mustapha LOL Vasanthi Palani; easier this way. type once and just tag 😛
  • Mazlyn Mustapha True Selva Raja: some things cannot be explained, for everything else, there’s my facebook wall
  • Nurman Yaman er.. who was the sarawakian? just curious… mana tau org sekampung
  • Nurman Yaman er..er… 1 je kan
  • Zekri Hashim Others believe in the school of hard knocks and then there is the MBA. I salute your venture. I realise quite early that being a medic does not mean the be and end of everything. In fact a whole vista of opportunities opens up to one if only one can see them. I have first hand experience in businesses way beyond my medical background. They have enriched my life experience and added more colour to an otherwise homogeneous existence.
  • Azlin Ithnin Ah yes… I totally agree with the loving unnecessary torture part.. Sometimes u just can’t resist 😉
  • Mazlyn Mustapha Zekri Hashim: I agree, the learn real business = need to run real business. MBA is just business theories thought by lecturer
  • Fahisham Taib Yes it’s a torture if u unconditionally go through just for the sake of getting MBA. But if it is purposes for greater responsibility to fulfill the khalifatullah then all the effort and hardship are easy to go through. You can tell ur valuable experience of this memorable journey. It testifies ur courage and determination to succeed, may b at the end u r those rare breed of medico-physio- economist!
  • Mazlyn Mustapha It’s a love and hate relationship 🙂 which I love to hate
  • Zekri Hashim Be as it is, learning theory may teach us how to avoid pitfalls in real life. Experience tells us how painful it really is to fall into the pit, and if we live through it, that makes one an expert. Its good to test the theory 🙂
  • Fahisham Taib The other aspect is to find different niche than the others. I cannot salute more Mr Badrisyah Idris who despite being in neurosurgical also actively involved in casemix of the hospital and recently seeing him perhaps developing Master in Health Care Management with Prof Siti Hawa PPSK. I believe when u hv access to knowledge n be able to apply it instantly then all this learning n theoretical bits become drowned in ur own expert area. Is that correct mr neuro economist?
  • Sara Zachariah · Friends with Jr Moorthy and 4 others

    I always wanted to do the MBA. Good luck with it.
  • Santharathas Muthusamy as adoctor we can be promoted for admininsration pengarah urusan ketua pebgarah kesiahatan
  • Husyairi Harunarashid There is another path to consider apart from MBA… CIMA
  • Badrisyah Idris Getting an MBA and being an MBA..A doctor who has MBA is able to tackle diseases of an organisation such a way how one tackles diseases in human. Steps are almost similar.
  • Aman Siao Man and what’s wrong with an MBA? Is that not another piece of knowledge? I do love how much doctors (aka medicine) likes to restrict themselves to ‘medical science’ but forget the value of other sciences. It is a new world, there are doctors who completed other higher degrees like social science, anthropology, management, mathematics and MBA and etc etc. We all bring something to the table. There are some things ‘medicine’ alone can’t solve…  Kalu dipermudahkan, insyallah adalah rezeki Nya 🙂 PS: I thought you wanted to be a writer??
  • Aman Siao Man and stop worrying about what other people think, you seek knowledge which interests you. Learning something new is never a waste of time. It should be encouraged.
  • Aidora Abdullah Mazlyn Mustapha…I never asked you why. 🙂
    I just assumed it was the same reason anyone has when they want to learn something new…to gain knowledge and experience! And, I am not just referring to anything that is academic, if I wanted to learn how to scuba dive for example (which I hopefully will do!), then it would be for the same reason! Hehehe
  • William Yeoh Salute you. Now I can only study for 10 ….seconds.., then fall asleep
  • Roza Howton Go for it Mazlyn. Why not an MBA? I’m a physicist, but somehow am being sidetracked into neuroscience and environmental science (species identification and remote monitoring), with 10 years of retail and 3 years teaching experience. Life has many roads — take the path least taken.

    One of my profs had this on his office wall:

    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

    — Robert Heinlein

  • Mazlyn Mustapha I don’t mind people asking, I also don’t mind people who didn’t ask. Facebook is just a great tool to answer questions asked so often that the answer themselves sound like a CD..Roza Howton; what do physicists do? I’m happy to hear I’m not an insect 🙂
  • Mazlyn Mustapha More questions: how does studying MBA compare to studying medicine? Answer: It is different, very different. Medicine is challenging because there are many facts to learn, many things to memorise, and then all that information needs to be processed and applied to a particular patient at a particular time and place. MBA has less facts to remember, it is more of understanding abstract concepts and then using those abstract concepts to understand how businesses work in the real world. Conclusion: both are not easy, but in different ways. What matters most is how we use the information and knowledge to better our own lives and the lives of others 🙂
  • Roza Howton I had to think hard on how to answer your question “what do physicists do?”

    Mostly solving nature’s puzzles via first principles (mathematics and 4 forces of nature), and then apply it to engineering, environment and medicine.

    E.g. how does one extract the maximum amount of information from a limited signal, and then reconstruct something tangible, like forming clinically meaningful 3D colour coded blood flow map of the heart/brain from very small doppler shifted ultrasound *blips* and tissue density info.

  • Mazlyn Mustapha Mazlyn Mustapha; tagging myself for reference purpose
  • Roza Howton 🙂 you make me want to go back to working in a lab 🙂 Insyaallah we will collaborate someday. Public health policies, perhaps?
  • Mazlyn Mustapha Roza Howton; “you make me want to go back to working in a lab” > ok, how did I manage to do that again? *confused*
  • Roza Howton hehehe, you made me recall the fun and wonder of discovering something … usually unintentionally, in my case 🙂 you’re a catalyst 🙂
  • Mazlyn Mustapha Catalyst is my second favourite term from chemistry! (The first is equilibrium 😉 )
  • Roza Howton My favourite is Entropy 😉 there’s beauty in chaos, if you know where to look
  • Mazlyn Mustapha Hey, that’s my third favourite!
  • Roza Howton Great Minds think alike ….. or is it Fools Seldom Differ?