The world of postgraduate studies can be confusing with the litany of potential postgraduate degree options across the world. Here we will break down what exactly an MBA is to help you figure out if going to business school is the right option for you!
What is an MBA?
Let’s start with the basics. MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. It is a higher educational program that expands upon basic business principles, such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing. The MBA offers a holistic, top-down view of how all business units work together, focusing on improving your managerial and leadership skills vital for a successful career in business. They typically last two years, though there are some one-year programs in existence. MBAs are the degrees offered by business schools, so the two terms are often used in place of one another.
Who typically gets MBAs?
Generally, people who aspire to jumpstart or pivot their career in business, looking to level-up their lifestyle, or increase their professional ceiling. This could include professions from C-suite executives in any industry or entrepreneur, to a more senior-level financial advisor or management consultant. MBAs teach you the important technical skills necessary to run a business along with the intangibles needed to lead one. For that reason, the things you learn in an MBA program can be applied to professions across all industries, since most, if not all, industries have a business side to their operation. Further, anyone who has lofty career goals and an ambitious side may want to get an MBA in order to gain access to job opportunities not offered to people without a Masters degree, and a network that can open up a whole world of opportunities.
Why do you need an MBA?
Firstly, you will learn a lot about business in an MBA program. If you are serious about a career in business, the in-depth, rigorous learning you will do as an MBA student will well prepare you for any business-related career you might desire. Getting an MBA will also increase your allure when applying for jobs, and thereafter increase your salary once you have a job. Young professionals often feel as though there is a “glass ceiling” that is impossible to break through to reach the upper levels of a company without an MBA. Employers are more willing to hire you, and then pay you more if they see that you have that Masters degree. MBAs are a great way to pivot and shift your industry focus too, opening doors in the business world for people who may have been in law or biology or any number of fields beforehand. Further, you will be surrounded by other aspiring business professionals in the program, people who you can learn a lot from and who can act as a fantastic social and professional network as you move on in life. Members of the Merchant Alumni Network consistently tout their business school network as a central reason for wanting to get an MBA. As an added bonus, MBA programs often have internship programs through which they pair their students with companies across a variety of industries. These programs offer students the chance to get real-world experience, earn money, and create a connection with a company that may culminate in a full-time job offer.
Listen to Merchant Alumni, Teddy talk about the value of an MBA, and how his internship at Amazon led to a full-time position!
Where can I get an MBA?
There are hundreds of MBA programs worldwide. A quick Google search will bring up some of the top MBA programs such as Harvard Business School, UPenn’s Wharton, Northwestern’s Kellogg in the USA, and then INSEAD, London Business School, and HEC Paris. Each school has its own unique pros and cons, so a little bit of research can go a long way in figuring out which school is the best fit for you.
When should I be thinking about getting an MBA?
While many graduate programs are most effective directly after your undergraduate studies, typically you do not want to go directly to business school after undergraduate school. Business schools like to see some professional experience in business to bolster your application. Even better for an MBA application is experience as a leader. There are not many leadership positions available for workers right out of undergrad, so it can take a few years to find the opportunities necessary to form a strong application. Recently the average business school applicant has been 27 or 28, meaning they have been out of school for 5 or 6 years. When trying to determine when is best for you, consider whether you feel your career is stalling and whether getting an MBA will help advance your career. You should also continue to utilize your network by reaching out to older people in your industry and ask for their advice. They will be able to provide a more personal plan of action, and you will maintain that connection, which could be useful down the road when looking for a job.
How do I get an MBA? What is the process like?
So now you are convinced, an MBA is the right step for you. Where should you start? To begin, start preparing for the GMAT, the standardized test used for MBA program admissions. Merchant GMAT offers a GMAT tutoring service that uses a dynamic, mistake-driven analysis approach, coupled with the human touch of professional GMAT coaches. The timeline varies for each individual depending on your problem solving skills and the time you can commit to studying. For this reason, the earlier you begin planning the better, because your GMAT preparation could take anywhere from 3 months to a year. Then, research schools that you think would be a good fit. There are a variety of factors to consider – location, specializations, costs and financial aid, networks, visa requirements and more. Put together a list of business schools you’d be interested in applying to and mark down the application deadlines. Deadline dates vary depending on the program, but typically they are in the fall or winter. From there you will have to go through the normal tasks that come with submitting applications. There is a lot to consider during this process, so we offer personalized Admissions Consulting to ensure you make the best decision possible.
If you would like to utilize our services in preparation for the GMAT or MBA admissions guidance, please fill out the form on our home page and we would be glad to get started helping you along your MBA journey as you pursue your career and lifestyle dreams!