Why Are You Going to B-School?

When making the decision to apply to and attend business school, it is imperative that you step back and do some pretty serious self-analysis. Not only because business school is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor (though certainly those are two very important reasons), but also because getting an MBA puts you on a definite path to the business world.

Ask Yourself Some Questions

The most critical questions you need to ask yourself are: Is a career in business what you really want? What do you want the MBA to do for you? Specifically, are you looking to gain credibility, accelerate your development, or move into a new job or industry? If you want to move into a new job or industry, do you need an MBA in order to do so? What is the outlook for newly-minted MBAs in the job market now and what is it expected to be 2-3 years from now? Is it the right time in your career to get an MBA, or should you wait? Conversely, have you already reached a point in your career that an MBA is no longer necessary? Perhaps an Executive MBA Program would be more suitable.

Knowing what you want doesn't just affect your decision to go, it also affects your candidacy; admissions committees favor applicants who have clear goals and objectives. You will have opportunities to communicate these goals and objectives to the admissions committees throughout your written application and in an interview if you have one. Communicating them successfully will determine whether you are admitted, or not.

Moreover, once at school, students who know what they want make the most of their two years. If you're uncertain about your goals, opportunities for career development -- such as networking, mentoring, student clubs, and recruiter events -- are squandered.

You also need to find a school that fits your individual needs. The more you know about what you want from an MBA, the more likely you are to choose the best business school for you. Consider the personal and financial costs. This may be the single biggest investment of your life. How much salary will you forego by leaving the work force? What will the tuition be? How will you pay for it? If you have a family, spouse, or significant other, how will getting your MBA affect them?

Until you weigh all the pros and cons of leaving the workforce for two years and returning to school, or, in the case of a part-time program, those of committing your nights or weekends to class and studying for 3-4 years, you aren't ready to make your decision.

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