“I dreamed a dream…”

As many of you know, I’ve always wanted an MBA.

Ever since.

It’s been my dream ever since I was in college, but I figured that I had to work 2 years or so to be eligible for the program.

However, things happen as they always do.

I was transferred to Taiwan to study Mandarin. Figured I was already in Taiwan with no work experience, and though my tenure was simply a year, extended for another half and tried to find a job.

Got my first job at a leading Taiwanese PC company. It was a stable 9am to 5pm job where I learned that I LOVED traveling. It was kinda boring but paid for the bills more than whatever I’ll get from the Philippines. Hello, financial freedom! 🙂

I developed an organization from boredom but blossomed from a regular attendance of 20 people to 80 at its peak. We did around 80 projects or so before I “retired,” which kept me busy for a year and a half.

Worked on my second job, at a bank. Sheesh, how ironic can life be? Worked my ass off.

Transferred to Hong Kong when I was becoming bored and was placed in the peak of the recession where everyone was afraid for their jobs. My own line manager got fired a week after I arrived. Sad.

I was one of those that figured, “Hey, if they fired me but gave me a nice golden severance package, I can apply for business school. If I applied for enough business schools, despite the competition, one of them would want me.”

But they kept me on, and on December 8, I’ll be celebrating my first year anniversary in Hong Kong.

Good and bad, whatever way you look at it.

However, my job in Hong Kong was similar to what I did in Taiwan. And though the scope was slightly different given that it was a more regional undertaking and I found myself helping a lot more of my compadres around Asia, it wasn’t as intellectual stimulating as I wish it would be.

Hence, I am as always, very appreciative of my current employer. The energy is electrifying in the office and admittedly, there are many research reports and technical click-click resources for me to learn from.  Nonetheless, given just how busy I am at work since everyone’s problem becomes my problem, I don’t really have the time to read them! 🙁

When I got together with Trader, I still envisioned my MBA dream.

However, when I shared him about my current dream to get an MBA in one of the stellar schools, namely Wharton, NYU, Columbia or LBS, his eyes teared up. “Many couples try their best to be closer together, so why are you trying to move even further?”

So yes, despite his many good qualities, my lovely boyfriend disapproved of my dream.

His intuition tells him that the moment I move away for an MBA, the risks of us breaking up substantially increases.

This meant us being apart in most likely two different time zones. Us living different lives and growing apart. And lastly, knowing me, I’d successfully finding a job at a region where I took an MBA and basically, never go back to Asia where he is contently residing.

Note that we are currently in a serious  long distance relationship with him in Singapore and myself in Hong Kong.

But it’s MY DREAM!” I wanted to scream. Of course, given that I’ve harboured this dream for a long time, it was a really big sacrifice for me to give up my dream.

Of course, I talked to the sage about it. Sage being my traditional mom.

She said that life was unfair and was about choices. For women, we have an expiry date, and basically, if I chose an MBA, I was choosing my career instead of a chance of a family. “If you already have a decent man who loves you, why risk that?”

My mom seriously believes that if I moved to the US or London for an MBA, Trader and I would break apart.

Just to clarify, my mom was in no way against having an MBA. However, I am already 29 she said and given my 8 years of fun and freedom, needed to settle down.

I disagree with her with the expiry date. In Taiwan, it was quite common to see unmarried 30 year olds and usually it was unthinkable to marry too early unless you didn’t really have too much options or you had an accident. Divorces were quite high there too at a wowsa rate of 50%. So I didn’t really felt threatened about the age factor.

What I did agree with was the fact that an MBA would change me.

In many ways dear readers, your author is a chameleon.

My accent is heavily influenced with my current residence. In Taiwan, it subconsciously morphed into a weird yet charming Japanese/American accent that made me stand out from most Filipino-Chinese, even my own family members.

I love changes and don’t really mind not holding onto friends. Having lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong where most people never stayed for 2 years, life taught me to expect changes and be fine with it. “Friends come and go,” I thought.

It was a very lonely way to live because there’s no sense of permanence in one’s life. Everyone was a variable. People left, changed and yes, that was fine. It was funny that on my annual birthdays, my guest list were almost always different, and most really don’t even know about each other.

You don’t have a barkada (steady group of friends you always hang out with), huh?” Trader asked me last week. “I just noticed it how your friends always change.”

It wasn’t the greatest secret in the world and yet he took 6 months plus to notice it. Ha, the bliss of being in a relationship – that sense of constant discovery.

Yes, and I don’t mind,” I replied.

For me, friends are great to the phase of life that you’re in, and much time and energy are spent nurturing these friendships. But, some of them will leave, and though it’s sad to see them leave, it’s fine. Them moving onto another phase of their lives (which usually happens when they move, get married or have babies) may change the intensity of your friendships (e.g., you’ll not be too close), it won’t change the fact that you’re friends.

Hence, you’ll still be friends but not as great a friends as before, but that’s okay.

And though it may take some time, you’ll find new ones. 🙂

Meanwhile, Trader has kept his own steady set of friends for years. His friends back home originate from his high school years. He has maintained the same set of friends in Singapore and the Philippines and does everything with them.

Also, he embraces stability. Trader can eat the same dish for weeks at a time, or stay home and read a book or do his chores every day without complain.

Your author on the other hand embraces change.

Let me guess, you’re doing something this weekend, right?” Trader asked me this Friday. He was spending this weekend in the Philippines visiting family.

How can you say that?!” I said. “That’s just presumptuous that I’d be out and about instead of staying at home and reading a book!”

But that’s who you are,” he explained. “You’re the woman who just can’t stay put.”

He’s right of course, but I have a tendency to be stubborn and not really agree on the get go. Not a positive feature, am sure.

So now that my MBA (not my body) clock is ticking, I am placed at the crossroads. Should I follow my dream, or should I listen to my mom and Trader?

I think maybe there’s a win-win situation. If you rack your head and be open-minded enough, there are usually other options out there. Which brings us to what I did yesterday.

I went to HKUST to inquire about their MBA program.

It was pretty good — an introduction to their program in the morning followed by a campus tour, then lunch and a free sample class from one of their better teachers.

The campus was also quite nice. The university combines both the undergraduate and MBA programs so the energy was quite dynamic. The location was at Clearwater Bay which made the environment quite serene to be in:

Maybe I can still follow my dream though changing it a little bit to calm my parents and my boyfriend’s nerves. If I did it in Asia, I’ll be able to still pursue my dream yet be close enough and more accesible to them for them not to worry.

Takeaways from yesterday’s visit, HKUST program seems to be quite good. They have a stronger finance bias, which was exactly what I wanted, and would give me the chance to do an exchange with NYU, LBS or Columbia, schools that I’m also interested in. This would give me the chance to study abroad as well though in a shorter period.

The application period is a bit too tight given that it comes in two weeks, but I may give the second round a shot. If so, that’s a very good win-win situation. 🙂

I’m quite excited. Maybe my MBA dreams still do have a chance in coming true! 🙂

We’ll keep you posted. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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2 thoughts on ““I dreamed a dream…”

  1. ““If you truly think you were born to do something, don’t give yourself another option, because you’ll just end up choosing that instead.””

    – Nicky Silver, playwright.

    Looking back in life, it’s never nice to have the “what if” -question… People regrets the things which they have not done, instead of the things they’ve done…

    You to have a nice week ^^!!!

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