MBA Students You Are What You Measure

How often do you hear, “You get what you measure” or “You can’t control what you are not measuring.” The measurement mantra is something we hear all the time and these phrases are characteristic of that mantra. However, “You are what you measure” provides a different focus, one that seems to redirect measurement to our own behavior and us as an individual – and may apply to your work-life balance and wellbeing during your MBA program.

You Are What You Measure” is the title of a June 2010 Harvard Business Review column written by Dan Ariely. The column’s focus is on CEO behavior; however, I think his main point applies to us as individuals, especially when it comes to behaviors that affect our wellbeing. He says the following about CEOs, “If we want to change what they care about, we should change what we measure.” Accordingly, if we want to change our wellbeing we should change what we measure, or in some cases, we just need to start measuring. Of course, I am assuming that individual wellbeing is something about which we all care.

Perhaps your current level of wellbeing and work-life balance is a function of what you are measuring, or more likely, what you are not measuring. Maybe starting an MBA program is an opportune time to start measuring those aspects of your life that are important to you.

The Ariely column reminded me that we might need to revisit the topic of measuring wellbeing. In a previous post, I suggested that you develop an action plan to mitigate short-term sacrifices while earning your MBA. Did you prepare an action plan that included activities and goals to help you focus on improving your overall wellbeing and work-life balance while earning your MBA? If not, perhaps you should.

A good tool for measuring the things we care about is the Wellbeing Finder, a resource that is available on Gallup’s Wellbeing Web Site. The Wellbeing Finder measures and reports on the things we care about using the five essential elements of the Wellbeing Model discussed in a previous post as a basis for gathering the information and reporting results. My assumption is that each of us can judge the things we care about so the model fits our daily lives. By using the Wellbeing Finder, you can:

  • Measure and improve your wellbeing
  • Track your wellbeing over time, and compare your scores to demographic groups
  • Take action to improve your wellbeing
  • Use the Daily Tracker to measure your wellbeing right now
  • Discover patterns in your life that affect your wellbeing

Managing work-life balance and wellbeing is not easy, especially for newly enrolled MBA students that must balance the demands of full-time employment, family obligations, and other activities. Starting an MBA program is disruptive. How disruptive I think depends on how well prepared you are to manage the five essential elements of wellbeing prior to the program’s start. I think the Wellbeing Finder is a good place to start and is especially helpful for MBA students since it establishes a wellbeing baseline for monitoring changes in wellbeing while participating in an MBA program.

Is measuring work-life balance and wellbeing during MBA study something that you should do? Do you agree that you are what you measure? Share your thoughts by adding to the comments below. What would you like to see covered at MyeEMBA? Let us know in the comments section!

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Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of

[Image by FreeDigitalPhotos.Net member Renjith Krishnan/In accordance with terms of use]

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