Sunday, November 7, 2010

How having an MBA work out for you ?

Why Taiwan famous baker desperately needs to attend an eMBA ?  May 2013 news

Wu Pao-chun is an award-winning baker, a master of the breaded arts, hailed as the "glory of Taiwan" alongside Oscar-winning movie director Lee Ang.
He is an award-winning baker, a master of the breaded arts, hailed as the "glory of Taiwan" alongside Oscar-winning movie director Lee Ang. But that is not enough for Taiwanese universities, which have rejected Wu Pao-chun's attempts to get a master's degree, driving him to try his luck in Singapore.
It was at the prestigious Bakery World Cup in Paris in 2010 where Wu, now 43, became a national icon. He beat 23 rivals from 16 countries to clinch the title of Master Baker in the bread category with his rose-lychee bread creation that includes millet wine, rose petals and dried lychees - ingredients that came from Taiwan.

"I fulfilled my dream. I was able to brighten the name Taiwan," he said then.

His Wu Pao-chun Bread bakery, which opened in Kaohsiung in late 2010 to much fanfare, reportedly racked up sales of more than NT$200 million (US$6.68 million) last year. The pineapple tarts he sells are named after his mother, the late Madam Chen Wu-hsien. The youngest of eight children, he was raised by the widow in the southern county of Pingtung.
He quit school after junior high - the equivalent of secondary school in Singapore - to become a baking apprentice in Taipei, as he could not bear to see his mother slog to make ends meet. But, despite his culinary and business achievements, he was turned down in his applications to the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) programme at the National Chengchi University and National Sun Yat-sen University.

EATING bak kut teh and other Singapore favourites would be great, but what celebrity baker Wu Pao-chun really hungers for when he begins an executive MBA course in the country is the know-how to run his burgeoning business, he tells The Straits Times.

Mr Wu's plan to study at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in July has caused something of a nationalistic uproar in Taiwan. But he believes it is time to venture out of his comfort zone of bread-making and school himself in finance, logistics and the management skills befitting an entrepreneur.

Mr Wu announced on the Facebook page of his shop, Wu Pao-chun Bakery, that he had accepted an offer from NUS to enrol in its Asia- Pacific Executive MBA course. For the next two years, he will attend 10 days of intensive lessons every three months. The programme is conducted in Mandarin and features field trips to countries in the region.

"I'd asked many Taiwanese friends about the programme and they told me it would give me many opportunities to learn," he said of his choice of NUS.

Mr Wu shot to fame after winning the Master Baker title in the bread category of the prestigious Louis Lesaffre Cup in France in 2010. His three-year-old shop in Kaohsiung racked up sales of more than NT$200 million (S$8.4 million) last year. His second shop, in Taipei, is due to open in August.

The high-school dropout also expressed his frustration with Taiwanese universities' graduates- only entry criteria for their EMBA programmes. Many Taiwanese, including President Ma Ying- jeou, have called for the laws to be revised. The education authorities promptly did so. The revision has been nicknamed the "Wu Pao-chun clause".

Mr Wu said yesterday that he never expected his comments to stir so much controversy. He talked enthusiastically about his upcoming stint as a lecturer at National Taiwan University, where he will teach the finer points of farming and, of course, baking. He will also attend selected business management classes at the school, on top of his studies at NUS.

Some companies would naturally love their underpaid employees.  They would bank on your guilt and sense of obligation to keep you from leaving.  Some older gen workers would rather not quit a company that has underpaid and under-appreciated them for years.  If you think or suddenly gotten up from bed and woke up realising all these years you’re not being treated right or mistreated properly, you may have to leave for better treatment or what they say commonly, "greener pasture"...... if there is such these days of poor economy led by the downfall of big economies..

Did your company pay any part of your MBA or MSc study?  If so, how long do you have to work for them without having to repay the cost of tuition? Usually you are bonded for two to three years and of course the company do not expect you to leave the company after that.  However, on the other hand, it would be unfair to let yourself be held hostage at a meager monthly sum and $100,000 less per year than another company would pay you because of a $20,000 repayment required should you decide to call it a day.  If the company did not pay  part of your tuition, then I think you don’t have to consider that in your decision calculus.   There are more reasons than salary to stay at a job.  For one, in this economy, any job is a blessing and there are people who would love to take your place.  Work-life balance is another huge one.  Sure, you can make more money somewhere else, but are they going to let you work one day a week from home?  Sometimes location really gets you–if you live in a less populated area, switching jobs can mean moving, and you don’t want to uproot everything for a strange new work place and town.

But then, you decided you want to stay.  You just want to be recognized for your skills and experience.  Let's think about what should you be thinking then :
  1. What is it that you can and couldn’t do before your MBA?  Note that I said “do” not “know.”  You may know a ton more, but does that translate into things that are helping your company?  For instance, you may have studied complex international finance policies in school, but if your company deals with nothing more international than ordering Mexican food for lunch, it’s not helpful to them.
  2. Why would they list a vacancy at a higher salary then you are making?  How in the heck should you know?  Well, if you think you need to know, Go ask.  Ask straight out what it is that you are not doing that they expected someone in this position to do.  Expect some sputtering.  It may well be a case of stupid policy, such as not giving an existing employee more than a 10% increase.
  3. Are you prepare to make more money elsewhere? We all are sure we’re fabulous and all that, but could you really make more elsewhere?  Say you only have 2 years of technical experience plus the MBA.  The market is flooded now in the marine and offshore sector, so they may well be paying you precisely what you’re worth to them.  It’s not the job of a company to pay you what you need to live your chosen lifestyle.  It’s their job to pay you in accordance with the amount you can help the organisation or section. And remember in big organization, no one is indispensable no matter how high or senior you are in the company.
  4. Do you need to asked directly for a raise? You say you got a fabulous retention bonus, EVA, extras,etc.   Your bosses may think, “Gee, weren’t we generous with that retention bonus?” and have no plans to give you a raise.  They may not know that you think you deserve one.  After all, they may feel like they’ve adequately compensated you for your increased skills.  You need to spell it out for them.
  5. Do you need to show that you are more valuable. Make a list of all the functions you do, along with a description of how you do them.  If you have the chance to write a self-appraisal, now is the time to do so.  If you need to, try to make it obvious that you are underpaid.  Make it extremely obvious that you are technically experience and well informed on the technological arena.  This is not the time to be modest.  Save that for dinner with your in-laws.
  6. If you need to be moving on. It’s a sad truth, but sometimes companies just won’t ever appreciate you or realise how you have contributed to the organisation until someone else wants to buy you out.  But, if you’ve talked repeatedly about your undying devotion, or how you can never leave because you live across the street, they just won’t see any reason to increase your salary.
Personally, the three letters MBA on your resume are not going to make you automatically more valuable. I have my MBA and believe that without a doubt it has helped me to grow into the position I have today. I am also very fortunate to have given another Master course to pursue after my p/t MBA and this really given me another overview of the marine technology where everyday I am still in the learning process. I would not have achieved what I have without the skills I've learned along the way. An MBA rounds out a person's skills to help bring "the big picture" into perspective. In time, the rewards will come from the value you'll bring to a team....not three letters behind your name.

P.S. Never try to go to your employer with an offer from another company. That would be your biggest mistake if you somehow foolishly err on this move. Even if some company try to buy you out, you've planted the seeds of disloyalty with your present one and you'll ruin your career in the long run or at least make a bad name in your record. Instead, try approach with why you feel you deserve more but do not try to be hardup. If they choose not to pay you what you feel you're worth, then you can actively seek other options with a clear conscious.

Having an MBA is a sign of potential, not performance, so the key question is to identify how performance has changed as a result of the MBA. One reason I find p/t MBAs - where students continue to work while doing their studies - much more successful (for both the student and the company) than f/t MBAs is that the student has many opportunities during the program to discuss their learning with their peers and bosses and put new ideas into real practical practice. They can put markers down about their improved performance as they go along. This makes it much easier to negotiate job changes and pay rises after the studies have been completed.

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