Today and for more than 50 years, the MBA has been the most popular and profitable graduate degree in the world. That’s why year after year, thousands of candidates apply for the MBA. However, today, there are increasingly more “flavors” of the MBA — from the traditional full-time two-year program to the one-year program very popular in Europe, the part-time, the evening, the weekend, the Executive MBA, online, blended and others.
With so many options, which MBA is the best one for you?
Once you have decided that you want an MBA, it’s important to think about what you need it for. What’s your goal? Where would you like to work after your MBA? Do you plan to change sectors or industries? Or stay where you are but move up in the organization? Do you plan to start your own business, or work as a consultant? The clearer your goal is, the easier it will be to choose the type of program that best fits you.
Along with the evaluation of the program, you need to evaluate your own profile; that is, the set of qualifications and elements that form your application for the MBA:
1. Your undergraduate performance: Even if it has been some time since you graduated, those years in college are very important for your application. Your grades will be carefully evaluated, particularly from the most rigorous courses. Any anomaly or fail should be explained in the application.
2. Your GMAT or GRE score: These tests are crucial for your application, both the quantitative and the verbal sections. Research if the program you are looking for requires them (and which one) and start preparing as soon as possible.
3. Your work experience: Most programs require a minimum of two years of post-college work experience. Nonetheless, there are programs that are not as strict, and there are a few that welcome candidates straight from undergrad.
4. Your extracurricular activities: Besides your academic performance and work experience, many programs prefer candidates that have been involved in interesting activities outside of their job, particularly if they benefit the community. These activities can be as simple as coaching a soccer team in your neighborhood, to occupying a leadership role in a volunteer organization. It’s not a requirement, but having non-professional, responsible roles will definitely give you an advantage.
5. Your knowledge of English: Finally, if you are an international candidate and your undergraduate degree was not taught in English, it is important that you prepare very well for the exams required by the school, be it the TOEFL, IELTS, PCE, or any other exam of English as a second language.
No one is perfect, and the majority of the MBA candidates are strong in some aspects but lacking in others. That’s why it’s important that you analyze each and every one of these elements and develop a plan to work on your weak points and boost your strengths.
In the following articles, we will explore what to do to improve or strengthen each one of these areas, even the ones that appear unfixable (such as a low GPA), and you will realize that with the right dedication, discipline, and commitment, you will be able to get admitted to the right MBA program for you, according to your profile and your goals.
By Esmeralda Cardenal, previously the Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. She is happy to help you showcase your achievements in your MBA application. Want Esmeralda to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!