I think we are here at Rotman because we are all maximizers in a way. Everyone here has given up something else that they felt was inferior to the possibilities a MBA may present post graduation. Me personally, my tendencies towards satisficing or maximizing have learned towards the first in my earlier years probably because of my up-bringing and cultural background, but this has changed in the last few years where I am choosing to maximize rather than satisfice.
In the past, I was definitely a satisficer, this was shaped by early years where my family had a low income and pretty much had to settle for whatever met our needs at the cheapest price, this applied to everything from food to shelter to early education. Gradually, my parents’ finances got exponentially better but because I’ve seen all this growth first-hand and seen how hard it was, it affected me greatly to constantly remind myself that I do not need to do everything, or to see all the options, but rather when something arises that will suffice, just take it and make the best of it.
My rationality is that even though I may not have examined all my options and chosen the illusive best option, I still have the ability to make the most out of the choice I did make so I will just have to take advantage of it. A great example is when I chose where to go for my undergrad: I chose based on what would meet my immediate needs, which is to get a decent education at the cheapest price possible.
So when the option came up between having a free education at Dalhousie and live at home which would allow me to be debt free at graduation, or to go to Cornell on a partial scholarship, I pretty much ignored the other factors involved and chose the cheapest option. I figured school is school, I will satisfice now and maximize while in school. Cue during undergrad, and old habits die hard, it was time to choose a major and instead of evaluating all my options, I satisfied yet again, I went into accounting because it was there and the concepts came easily to me and I knew post grad there will be a job out there for me.
There were definitely many options but once again I thought, let’s wait and I’ll explore more during my career. Unfortunately the truth hit home after going into the firm life, that settling for the first thing that seems good probably isn’t the wisest move; perhaps a bit more time spent deciding on career path and a bit more time exploring what I want to do would result in better array of choices and ultimately that may benefit me in the short and long run. As you can see, the earlier trend was markedly towards satisficing.
It is only when I decided to do my MBA that I said, ‘evaluate your options as far as you can, as efficiently as you can and then make the best choice based on what you want to do in the future’. I tried to constantly remind myself of this, and ultimately it resulted in me choosing Rotman, reputed as number one amongst Canadian MBA schools. Now that Q1 is underway, certain decisions will definitely be more carefully thought out, such as the next career choice. I realize now that a decision that will impact the rest of my life cannot be dealt by satisficing, it is simply a test I cannot afford to take.