Why I’m Getting an MBA: Humble Pie & Kingdom Dividends

Many of you know this already, but I was recently accepted into the Kellogg School of Management, which is the Business School of Northwestern University.

(In case you didn’t know, most Business Schools for some strange reason like to be referred to not to the greater university they represent, but have branded themselves separately.  I’m sure I’ll learn why when I take a Marketing Class.)

Many people have asked me two questions,

1. Why in the world are you pursing an MBA while working in Campus Ministry?

2. Are you going to become one of those arrogant business school students who thinks they are the center of the universe?

The answer to number 2 is easy: I have many folks my life who will tell me when I’m acting like a jerk.  I have had and will continue to have plenty of opportunities to eat humble pie.

Being stood up many times by undergrads who think that meeting with me is not worth their time is one.  If working as a campus minister with students has taught me anything over time, it’s how to handle rejection.

Looking at my love life is another.  Sheesh – let’s not go there.

Trust me – there are plenty of places for me to realize regularly I’m not all that.

As for number 1, I had always considered getting an MBA when I was in the marketplace – but wondered how it fit with my current context in campus ministry. As I’ve spoken with many of you and others, it’s easy to consider the skills learned in an MBA program are fully secular in nature and perhaps not aligned with the Kingdom of God.  But as I prayed, and reflected on what I know about myself, I sensed something different.

In response to these promptings, I contacted Alec Hill, President of InterVarsity, and put the idea before him.  He confirmed to me some of what I’d already been thinking – that the MBA develops a set of skills that could serve the movement well.  Strategic planning, fund raising, marketing, general management skills – these are all very necessary skills in an organization like InterVarsity.  Learning from one of the best like Kellogg could have great dividends for the Kingdom of God wherever I find myself.

The number one reason why most people leave their jobs is consistently the same over time: a poor relationship with their supervisor.  This is no different in ministry.

The number one reason people leave the mission field is not the folks to whom they minister – it’s the dynamic on their staff teams. As I’ve spoken with several of my friends in ministry and other not-for-profit endeavors, it’s clear that these skills are very necessary for the Kingdom of God to advance both locally and globally.

I’m excited to start class again as I have a clarity of purpose and understanding that I’ve not had before in my time in ministry.  At the same time, I’d really appreciate your prayers as I do my best to manage ministry and education and have boundaries for the other life giving activities in my schedule: my family & friends, my personal health, and most importantly, my relationship with God.

4 Responses to “Why I’m Getting an MBA: Humble Pie & Kingdom Dividends”

  1. 1 Jessica November 24, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Very cool! It’s nice to read more about your decision.

  2. 2 Sara November 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    This is awesome!! Praying and excited for you…

  3. 3 Latasha November 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Congratulations Andy! Your preparation to lead is admirable. God’s blessings.

  4. 4 Tom Desmond November 24, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    It is worth it to pursue your MBA at Northwestern as I fervently
    beleive that those skills will enhance your work in Christ’s
    Ministry. I also beleive that Christ will dwell richly in you
    while you balance many different roles in your own life.



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November 2009

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