3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Applying for an MBA

Going back to school to get your MBA is a major decision. Frankly, the additional schooling, homework,  new expectations, and possibility of putting your career on hold, can be overwhelming. If you’re struggling with the decision about whether or not you should go back for your MBA, we’ve compiled a list of three questions you need to be able to answer to see if the MBA is right for you.

1) Do I want to change my career?

Tara Hagan, an alumnus from Harvard Business School, applied to various MBA programs because she wanted a change in her career. She previously worked as an auditor at Deloitte in New York when she decided to pursue an MBA. “I went from six years at one company to trying out a number of industries and function areas in two years,” she revealed in an HBS blog. At HBS, Tara had the opportunity to experience a variety of different companies and positions. She consulted at, the second-largest, e-commerce retailer in Brazil. Then, she worked at and to gain various experience and insight during her MBA program. Finally, after graduation she ended up at OmniCom Group.

“Nearly 18 months out of business school and I have ended up in a place and position where I am excited to walk into work every day,” she revealed. “It was definitely worth all of the stress and uncertainty over the past few years. Career change is hard. It’s a never-ending process.” Tara used her MBA as a starting place for her career change and it was the advice she received from professors, her internships, and the alumni network that got her there. If you’re looking for a complete overhaul in your career like Tara, an MBA program could be your perfect opportunity.

2) Do I feel stuck in my current job?

For Vikram Pradhan, at the London Business School, he viewed his MBA program as a jump-start for his current career. He wanted to equip himself with the education and network necessary to discover other options. In his opinion, there are three distinct stages at which an MBA makes sense. He shared those stages in a recent blog. “First, the full-time MBA when you’ve had a few years in consulting, banking, or other professions and are eager to get ahead in the corporate world,” he said. “Second, is when you’re trying to make a similar change, but are a bit further along in your career and life to give up your income. The third stage is when you’re an established mid-to-senior level executive with experience in leading teams and organizations with a proven track record.”

If you fall into one of Vikram’s categories and feel like you need a push to get to the next level or to see what other options are available to you, then an MBA could be perfect for you. “Whatever the motivation, the common outcome from an MBA is expected to be ‘change’ – accelerated change. ‘I’m doing my MBA to change nothing in my current circumstances’ – said no one ever! If change is the goal, then the measurement of success surely has to be how far you move from your current state,” said Vikram.

3) What value do I want to gain?

Even if you’re not looking for a major change in your career, getting your MBA can still be valuable. The key is discovering what value you hope to gain and if that value can be found in an MBA Program. For Suyeon Kim, Zhanpeng Sun, and Takashi Goto, the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington was well worth the investment of time and money. In a Foster Blog, Suyeon revealed that his GEMBA “gave him important insights into the effects of international business, through class projects, seminars, and discussions.” Beyond that, he felt that his interactions with Seattle business leaders enabled him to make meaningful contributions to his company. As for Takashi, he felt the GEMBA was valuable because it taught him how to help his company raise their global market share. “Bridging the research/sales gap has been a challenge for his company, but he feels the GEMBA has given him the skills to solve this problem,” stated the blog.

No matter what value you’re looking for, it can be found in an MBA program if you know where to look. However, it’s important to know what value you want to gain, before you apply, so that you can choose a program that best fits your desires.

If you can answer any of the questions like the MBA alumni and students in this article, an MBA program could be perfect for you. However, if you’re still on the fence, the best thing you can do is talk to admissions teams, alumni, and current students at your preferred MBA programs to see if what they say aligns with your goals.




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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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