Making Big Decisions

In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

Our clients often ask us to help them with big life decisions, including which business program to attend and what job offer to accept. On a related note, we would like to share with you a recent New York Times Opinion article, titled “How to Make a Big Decision,” that we thought was valuable.

The article discusses research into the importance of generating alternatives to any course of action you are considering. In fact, one insight that has emerged from the research of Professor Paul Nutt is the strong correlation between the number of alternatives deliberated and the ultimate success of the decision itself. As the article notes, “In one of his studies, Professor Nutt found that participants who considered only one alternative ultimately judged their decision a failure more than 50 percent of the time, while decisions that involved contemplating at least two alternatives were felt to be successes two-thirds of the time.”

If alternatives are necessary when making a decision, so that you do not simply make a choice between two inferior options, you must have a way to assess your options. Imagine different potential outcomes for each option, including a worst-case scenario. Next, create a robust “pros and cons” list that incorporates a clear understanding of your priorities. Here is a sample pain/gain model that you can complete as part of your decision-making process:  


Clearly define the current state (i.e., status quo) and future state (i.e., what you are considering) by filling out the boxes in this order: Current Pain, Future Gain, Current Gain, and Future Pain. Then look at which stands out to you the most—and use that to make your decision.  MBA Career News: Making Big DecisionsOf course, a career coach can always help you better understand your choices and how to assess them given your values and priorities. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation

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