Experience Algebra MBA, by an American in - Zagreb
Author: Roger Molvar
A MBA degree is a great way to prepare for today’s changing and challenging business environment. As an international student, I chose the Algebra e-Leadership MBA program as its course materials did the very best job of exploring new international business trends, advanced management techniques and digital transformation. I also saw it as a great opportunity for me to challenge personal expectations and seek out a cohort of people who wanted to experience something that matters, instead of something that’s merely safe.
For me, purpose precedes the first step of every journey—both personal and professional. To reimagine tomorrow and create meaning in today’s uncertain times, we need positive thinking, a strong foothold in reality, and a deep sense of purpose. The sense of purpose—who we are, what we value, what defines us, and who we want to become—drives us forward. This purpose and drive is something I found working with others in the Algebra MBA program.
In the program, there were some amazing technical “finds.” Things like “being smart often has little to do with being persuasive.” I have spent years and years in an education process where I learned to do well on tests, assuming that charisma, followers, or influence is somehow aligned with insight and learning. The good news is that being a good leader and being persuasive is a skill that can be acquired from teachings in the program.
We discussed ideas like Geoffrey Moore’s “chasm”—the gap between the small part of the market populated with people who like to go first, and the larger group of people who want to get involved with something that’s proven, popular and effective. In the process of our discussions, we learned it’s not always an either/or focus situation. For instance, if you delight the early adopters, they often spread the word. That’s how the chasm is most easily crossed–not with fancy ads or clever hype, but by people who are engaged and share the story with others.
In the Finance area, we learned some important basics, but also got behind the scenes. Many students know an option's premium is priced by the probability that its strike will be profitable at expiration. In reality, though, each outcome takes a wild path through time. Like, for instance, many stocks are higher today than when they started out this year—but what a wild path they took through 2020! “Pricing the path” acknowledges that owning any asset involves much more than the entry and exit prices—it involves an entire journey in between.
We also discussed differences between tasks and projects, the biggest being that the way a project gets done is often up to you. In our project teams, we learned the goal was to create an extraordinary outcome, not to merely perform the tasks. If you can figure out how to do less work or different work and still create amazing project results, that’s exactly what you should do. The key is to “take ownership” of the project and make it better.
Some of the best aspects of the program come from the people—lecturers, students and administration. The lecturers are world class and have been selected for their demonstrated subject matter expertise. The students were top professionals in their fields and the administration continually evidenced professionalism, warmth and care. Since each MBA generation consists of a balanced number of students, there is plenty of opportunity for connection. Further, in your smaller table team of five or six members, you develop strong relationships (and quickly grasp the importance of diversity of backgrounds and skill sets!!) In my case, I can also honestly say I learned as much from my team members as I did from the lecturers. I was very grateful to be a part of an extraordinarily high performing team and will always treasure the friendships I made in the program.
The question to be considered by many whose current work is more standardized or compliance-based and not built on innovation or customer engagement: how long can these jobs last before being replaced by AI? If you want to stay ahead of industry trends, build digital skills and develop your creative side you’ll enjoy the positive and highly motivating environment surrounding the Algebra e-Leadership MBA program. It is an amazing community and I still miss the weekends with my colleagues!