The MBA has always been a prestigious program and is seen as the de facto choice for anyone who wants to start a business or become an executive. The MBA will give you a good business foundation and all the tools needed to run a major organization, but you first have to know if you’re actually cut out for it. You’ll also need to take a good look at yourself and what you’re trying to accomplish so you can tell if it’s the right program for you. Here are some of the things you should consider before going for an MBA.
Where do You See Yourself in the Future?
The first thing you have to do is look at your professional goals and see if an MBA will allow you to accomplish them. Do you have a particular dream job in mind or a specific sector you’d like to work in?
If you’re still trying to figure things out, you should reach out to people around you and ask them about their career paths. Even if they’re not in a position or industry you’re interested in, you could still pick up things that could help reshape your goals and ambitions.
Business school is not the right place to learn what you want to do with your life. It’s ok to not know exactly what position you want or what sector you want to work in, but you still need to have some sort of focus. You’ll be bombarded by opportunities once you get to school, and unless you have at least a general area of interest, you might end up feeling overwhelmed by them.
Also, know that the school you decide to enroll in will want to know where you see yourself as well. Start preparing right now so you’ll have a head start when filling in your applications.
Should I Get My MBA Online?
Online MBAs used to be viewed with suspicion not too long ago, but have greatly increased in popularity over the years. Recent events have made them even more popular and have done a lot to legitimize them.
Online MBAs are just as good as any other MBA and will be viewed the same by employers. There is absolutely no way for employers to know that you received your degree online, so dispel the fear right away.
The most important things when picking an online MBA are the reputation of the school and its program along with accreditation. As long as the program is accredited by a respected body and has a good reputation, that’s all that counts.
Online MBAs are not perfect, however. They lack some of the personal interaction you’d have with a traditional program, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll be completely isolated. Good schools do a great job of making their classes as immersive as possible by recreating the ambiance of a real classroom with top-of-the-line communication tools and interactive classes. Some students have even said that they felt closer to the teaching staff because of the ease of access.
Through an online MBA, you can ask questions directly to your teacher in real-time, which can be close to impossible in a traditional setting. You’ll also be able to save a lot of money on moving around and accommodation, which are two major pluses.
Are You Ready to Move?
You should know that the competition for MBAs is set to be fierce over the next few years and things are going to get even tougher in certain parts of the country. So, we suggest that you start looking at the best states for MBA graduates right now. You will need to look at things like prospects for the future, cost of living, unemployment rates, average salaries, and quality of life, among others.
Do You Have What it Takes?
You might have dreamed of becoming an MBA graduate all your life, or want to make your parents proud, but there’s no point in wasting your time and money on a program if you don’t have the basic traits, skills, and aptitudes needed to succeed.
First of all, how good are you with numbers? Math is a major component of running a business, and while management is primarily about people, there’s a lot of accounting and number-crunching involved. So, unless you have above-average math skills, you will not be able to get far with an MBA. Besides that, you will also need to have great analytical and problem-solving skills.
With that being said, interpersonal skills are essential as well. When applying, schools will want to know how good you are as a communicator. You will also need to have great leadership skills. This is something some people will never be able to acquire, and if you like to slot into the background, maybe you should look at a different program.
Is the MBA the Best Degree for an Entrepreneur?
If you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, the MBA could help. But this doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely necessary. A lot of small business owners can make it without one, though they will always be at a disadvantage against someone who has an MBA.
An MBA graduate will be able to operate as a one-person army and handle pretty much every part of an operation. You’ll be able to be your own accountant, marketing manager, and handle HR as well. You could even be your own lawyer in some cases. So, you’ll not only be able to reduce your overheads, but also know everything that is going on with your company at all times.
In addition to this, having your MBA will give you more credibility. People will be more likely to partner up with you if you have one and will also be more likely to give you control. Getting a loan will also be much easier once the finance company has seen that you graduated.
Still, getting an MBA will not be beneficial to everybody. If all you want to do is run a small business and have no intentions to scale, an MBA degree might be a bit of an overkill. There are also some skills that you can learn independently. But, if you have big goals and want to run a multinational operation one day, then the MBA will give you a set of crucial skills that will increase your chances of success.
The Application Process
The process of applying for an MBA is very tough, and you have to be ready for it. As you may already know, schools are flooded with applications every year and the MBA is one of the most difficult programs to get into, so you have to start working on your application now.
Schools will look at things such as your GMAT, personal and professional experience, letters of recommendation, and undergraduate transcript among other things. So, before you start the application process, try to see if there are any holes in there and where you could beef up your resume.
The first thing you should concentrate on when applying, however, should be your GMAT. There is no point in working on other things if you don’t fit the school’s primary admission requirements. The best thing you can do is get prepared as soon as possible.
We suggest you start preparing for your test at least three months in advance and take as many practice runs as you can. You should also be prepared to retake the exam if you feel you didn’t get the result you deserved the first time.
You should take the time to learn as much as you can about the school as well. This could give you a good idea of what type of candidate they’re looking for. Every school will have rules regarding the composition of their campus, and even if you have the best test scores, they will look way beyond that when choosing candidates.
One thing you could do is visit the school in question – assuming you decide to go down the traditional route. Sit in on a class and get a feel for the culture and atmosphere of the school. This alone could give you a better idea of whether you’d be a right fit for the school or if the school is a right fit for you.
You should also speak with other people that have graduated from an MBA program. They could give you some valuable tips on how to get admitted, and give you more information about what the school and program are really like. Take the time to ask them about the things they didn’t like about the program as well to help with your choice.
You should also remember to not try to mold yourself into the perfect candidate. Admission committees will sense your disingenuousness and will turn you down if they notice that you’re trying to be something that you’re not. Another problem with this is that you may end up sounding like thousands of other candidates who have tried to do the same thing. Remember that you’ll be competing with valedictorians, startup owners, and professionals in the field, so try to differentiate yourself instead.
These are all things you’ll need to take a long hard look at before applying for an MBA. This will give you a good idea of whether this is truly the program for you and enable you to do what it takes to position yourself as a great candidate.