What's your problem?

WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? - SHOULD I RESIGN TO DO MY MBA? I want to do an MBA but my employer has refused to give me his support to take the time off, and has put pressure on me not to do it.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I'm a junior manager in a software firm and believe an MBA would help me to do my job better, as well as enhancing my long-term career prospects Should I resign and do the MBA, or try to talk my boss round?

Let's start by taking the charitable view. Like a lot of sectors, much of the software business is facing increased competition and shrinking margins. Your boss is no doubt under acute pressure to meet new, tough targets while staying within a (probably frozen) salary budget. And then you come along. And however much he/she might accept your argument that an MBA would improve your performance, what they see in the short term is nothing but grief: an absent employee, an additional cost - and the niggle that, with an MBA to flourish, you could well prance off to richer pastures. In a year such as this, the prospect of subsidising talent for the benefit of a competitor is a deeply unappealing one.

So with all this in mind, and trying very hard to give as much consideration to your boss's plight as to your own, have another conversation. I know you can't pledge the rest of your life to this company, but simply by raising these issues yourself, you may be able to give your boss some comfort. If the response continues to be not only resistant but positively hostile, then your choice is clear: you must either give up all immediate hope of an MBA or go it alone. That's a decision only you can make: but in the longer term, I doubt that you'd ever regret going for it.

Jeremy Bullmore's responses to work dilemmas in MT are collected in his new book Another Bad Day at the Office? (Penguin, pounds 5.99)

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP.

Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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