Dear MBA Applicant:
Whether you’re fresh from your undergrad or pondering a return to school after a decades-long hiatus, getting a Master’s of Business Administration is a big commitment. Even full-time programs take two years, while part-time ones last three or more years depending on course load. However, it can also be a smart career move that results in higher pay, better positions, and more opportunities.
If you do decide to embark on this journey, here are a few words of advice to keep in mind:
Don’t overdo it – You might be drawn to a full-time or accelerated program so you can be finished faster, but with such an intense program, you may enroll only to find yourself floundering half a semester in. Play it safe and start with a course load that you know you can handle. You’ll save your personal (and possibly professional) life, plus you’ll get more out of the classes you do take since you’ll be able to concentrate on them and actually absorb the information.
Network – An MBA program isn’t just a place to learn new information; it can also be a place to meet new people, who may end up being valuable business contacts down the road. You’ll be exposed to people in industries and concentrations that you may never have otherwise, so take the opportunity to make connections. Even if you’re a full-time student and not currently working, print out business cards with your name and contact information to exchange with other students.
Pick the right program – MBAs come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to full-time programs, many schools offer part-time, distance learning, accelerated and even executive programs tailored to meet the specific needs of different types of students. Whichever you choose, be sure it’s the right one for your schedule and your experience level.
Don’t assume you’ll have a job right out of school – While most MBAs have no problem finding employment, you should never expect to get a great-paying position the day you graduate. In fact, it’s usually not advisable to take the first position that comes your way. Plan ahead so you can take the time to find a job that’s the right fit and that offers opportunities befitting your newly acquired education.
Branch out – Your concentration may be marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can zone out during financial classes. Treat every course like it is integral to your professional survival, because one day it actually might be. You may also want to pick electives that don’t exactly match your field, but may complement it and give you a more well-rounded education. You’re paying for the tuition, so get your money’s worth.
Whether you’re concentrating on finance, marketing, IT, or any other subject, your MBA is only as good as you make it, and by following the advice above, you can help get the most out of your experience. Diving into an MBA program may be laborious, but like many difficult tasks, the rewards are sure to be well worth the work.
Are you thinking about an MBA program? What are your concerns and if you’ve already been through it, what advice can you add? Have a great week!