The MBA application process – or the turning point when you finally decide to take the leap, tends to be a critical turning point for your future career. But with so many top-level MBA programs to choose from, various study options including full-time, part-time, evening classes or online learning, MBAs available from the best business schools around the world, and a wide variety of different areas of specialization available, it’s no surprise that the entire process can be quite overwhelming, and knowing where to get started can be tough.
If you’re already dead set on the kind of program that you want, then the good news is that you’ve got the hard part mostly over with. But on the other hand, if you know that you want to study for an MBA but aren’t sure exactly how, where or what you want to study, you’ll need to take some time to research, weigh up all the pros and cons of your options and ultimately decide on the best choice for your needs. Follow the steps below to ensure you’re in the best position to complete the application process and find your perfect match.
Ask Yourself: Why Do You Want to Do an MBA?
After considering the various alternatives for some time, you’ve decided that an MBA is the best fit for your career goals – and that now is the best time to do it. With this first step, it’s a good idea to establish the main three reasons for wanting to pursue an MBA, as this will help you make more relevant choices further on down the line. For example, are you looking to further your current career? Start your own successful business? A complete career change, or a change of industry?
In addition to considering your career goals, it’s also wise to spend some time considering the business school location. This is a rather important factor when it comes to taking advantage of the school’s alumni network and forging strong relationships with the local business community. It can be well worth studying for your MBA abroad and learning a second language if the location holds a lot of promise in terms of opening up both your personal and professional lives to new prospects.
Determine: Where Do You Want to Work?
As you work through your MBA application process, you’ll probably take some time thinking about all the different places where you would like to work and perhaps even live. In terms of location, the world offers a lot more than simply career opportunities – so factor in anything else that is important to you, like the average weather and climate, cultural viewpoints, cost of living, customs and values and more.
However, it’s also important to be realistic – living on a remote, beachy island might be tempting, but if you want to further your career with an MBA then it’s probably not very realistic. Start by thinking about your career interests and think about the best locations around the world to pursue these. For example, if you see yourself in a highly driven career in investments and finance, consider the main cities where the markets are based in places such as London, Paris, New York, and Tokyo. Or if you want a high-flying career in fashion and luxury, destinations like Milan, Rome, Paris and Los Angeles work well.
Your choice of location for both study and future work will depend largely on the industry that your goals align with. Even your field, or the type of position that you eventually want to hold, will influence your choice. The best approach is to be open minded.
How You’ll Study: Full-time or Part-time?
Before you send off any applications, it’s also worth taking some time to think about how you want to study for your MBA. There are many different factors which could affect this, so take your personal commitments into account before deciding on what is going to be the most ideal course of action for you. If you have the time and are able to afford it, studying full-time for a campus-based MB program gives you the opportunity to focus solely on studying for the duration of the degree and make it the largest commitment in your life right now.
But that isn’t always possible for everybody – if you’re working full time and need to remain doing so, then studying full-time is unlikely to work out. Part-time MBA programs are worth looking into, or if you need even more flexibility, look at the range of programs available online. It’s easy to see why online MBA degrees are increasing rapidly in popularity; they offer the same value as a campus-based program and are flexible enough to fit around your current lifestyle and commitments easily.
If you are having trouble working out the best MBA study option for you, then it’s recommended to speak to some schools directly and learn more about the specific requirements of each program in terms of class times, study hours, and how you can expect a typical week to pan out. Check out https://www.thembatour.com/; this is a great opportunity to learn more about a wide range of business schools from around the world and the programs that they offer, all in one place. The MBA Tour holds 70+ events annually across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Attending allows you to talk to the experts about your specific needs and find a program that is the most suitable for you.
Skills: Focusing on What You Want from the Degree
MBA programs can be very diverse with several areas of specialization to go into on top of the main pillars of business. And once you know the skills that you want to really focus on gaining or improving when studying for your degree, you’ll be in a far better position to consider which specific program is the right fit for you. Nearly all general management MBA programs, for example, will offer far more than the core management skills – some focus more heavily on financial based skills, while others are more geared towards marketing and entrepreneurship.
Taking the time to consider the skills and knowledge that you will need in order to meet your specific career goals will ensure that you are able to both choose a tailor an MBA program to meet your particular goals. Carefully selecting any optional modules will enable you to not only get closer to your objectives but also consider moving in different directions over the course of your career.
You may have very broad career goals, or you could be hoping for something more specific – the good news is that there is likely a program for you. Some specialized MBA programs can often lead to opportunities in very niche markets, such as hospitality management or healthcare, for example. If you are hoping to switch to a niche industry with no previous experience in it, then studying for a specialized MBA is an ideal platform to springboard you in.
With so many different options to choose from, picking the right MBA for your needs can be tricky. Start early and take your time considering what you want to get from studying for an MBA to ensure you find the right match for your future career.