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A Graceful Exit: Telling employers of your MBA decision

You got into business school… in fact, you got into the business school of your choice, and you’ve determined to attend.

Congratulations are pouring in from every quarter… except one: your employer is less than overjoyed.

In fact, he’s angry at what he sees as a betrayal of trust, is threatening to revoke bonuses and other benefits, and is poised to make your work environment less than pleasant.

Unfortunate as it is, this is a scenario that many prospective MBAs face each year.

MBA Decision

Though many employers encourage their employees to pursue an MBA degree, and even help finance it, there are some that do not receive the idea well.

Perceiving this, many applicants do not inform their bosses and must brave the inevitable fallout when that long-awaited acceptance letter arrives in the mail.

If you are in such a situation, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize the damage and avoid unnecessarily burning bridges.

Seek out the advice of a trusted colleague or mentor within your company. If there is someone who has been through a similar experience, ask how he or she approached the situation.

Even if your mentor or advisor has not been through your exact experience, they will likely be well versed in the company’s culture and in the personalities of your employers, and will be able to provide some guidance.

To avoid unnecessary and stressful conflict, be discreet about your MBA application, especially before you receive your admissions (MBA decision).

Do not talk excessively about your application to other colleagues, and avoid working on your application while on the job.

Should your employer broach the topic, balance discretion with honesty. Do not lie about your intentions, but rather, explain your goals while also acknowledging your employers and all the company has done for you.

When the time comes to tell your employer, give heartfelt thanks for what you have learned on the job and explain your reasons for seeking out an MBA degree.

If you do so calmly and clearly, you will be able to leave that interview with few regrets, and hopefully, many bridges still intact.

Best of luck!

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