A Letter to Patrick
By: C.K. Leung

A Filipino-Chinese friend in the US showed me a letter from his 75-year old father urging him to pursue MBA. I was so touched by the old man's challenging spirit that I asked for his son's permission to reprint it after altering his identity and editing some personal details. For the many "Patricks" among our readers, I am redirecting this message.

Dear Patrick,

I am sending some materials for you to consider in seeking a Master in Business Administration (MBA). Preferably, for diversification purposes go for a general MBA or a major in some specialty other than Information Technology (IT) (as you are well into IT already), it is an insurance against any future downsizing in your company and against your job turning obsolete.

We all know that as technology progresses, less technicians and programmers are needed. Take computer networking for example. Now they have simplified it to plugging adapter cards into the computer’s port and interconnect it through the house’s telephone outlets at a fraction of its previous cost. Future operating systems, starting with Windows XP, will be self-diagnostic or diagnosed online by logging on to a website. In short, more sophisticated programs will reduce the need for, if not eliminate, technician’s interference. All these happen because of rapidly reducing cost of hardwares, memories, and storage devices. Side by side, the quantum leap in processor’s speed, logics, and technology will reduce “human intervention” to a minimum.

The future need for technicians, of course, will be greatly reduced and human resources will be shifted to:

1. Physics-based design for more powerful processor chips, computers, and other hardwares

2. Theoretical research-related design for super self-debugging operating system and less user’s dependent softwares

3. Highly-trained, multi-disciplined management team to tap consumers’ needs, to market the product, to communicate (i.e. act as an interface between the users and designers), and to coordinate the scientists with the economic reality of business.

Some experts mentioned that it's the best time to pursue your graduate degree while others are discouraged by the lay-offs, poor job market, and companies seeking bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. Only the brave survives!

Don't forget the realities of life. Being a non-WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant), for the same job you will have to show a better qualification. Again, in life, many things are not fair and will never be fair. Not all the anti-discrimination laws can assure you of a truly equal opportunity. This is the hard fact of life. But this is also the Damocles’ sword forcing the Chinese, Japanese, and the other neses to strive harder for the highest education possible.

I quote an article: Weighing the value of an MBA -- is it worth the money?
In today's competitive environment you probably only have between 30 and 45 to earn the big bucks. After that, if things keep going in the direction they have been, you'll be phased out for a younger graduate. It will be presumed that younger graduates will be more up on what's happening then than you will be after 15 years on the job. A lousy assumption, but a crude reality. You'll be over the hill at 45.

Consider more than the money when making your decision. Going back to graduate school can restart your engine. It's hard work, but a different kind of work than the daily grind of the job. Besides, it could be fun.

Why do I have to spend long hours researching, studying, and writing letters and my memoirs? Simply because I want to leave a legacy to my children, grandchildren and friends that there is no limit to our determination, provided we put our hearts into the task. We have to continuously meet challenges and age is never a constraint to learn new things.

Remember, never underestimate your God-given talents.

With love,


Published in Republished with permission from the author.

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