20 Pre-MBA Questions You Need to Ask Yourself
By Lina Badih
Before you rush into filling out applications or calling up admission counsellors, you need to determine your specific MBA goals, which will help you pursue the type of MBA program and school that best meet your objectives.
Various types of programs, ranging from full-time to distance learning, are available. Although there are more than 1,500 graduate management programs worldwide, only a fraction of them will be a good match for you.
First and foremost, self-assess your goals. Ask yourself:
1) Am I a career enhancer (plan to continue in my current career path) or a career switcher (plan to change industry or function)?
2) Do I need an MBA to develop a functional/industry specialty?
3) Is an MBA required (or just helpful) for me to advance in my field or company?
4) How much more will I be making after obtaining my MBA?
5) What biases exist in my targeted industry or company that could affect my choice of program type?
6) Am I ready to assume the responsibilities of an MBA-level position?
7) Do I need career counseling?
8) Do I plan to stay with my current employer during and after the MBA?
9) Can I afford to take one or two years off and go back to school full-time?
10) Do I need to maintain full-time employment during the day?
11) Could I handle a full-time workload and full-time course load?
12) How do I define work/life balance?
13) What kinds of learning environments work best for me?
14) Will I want total immersion (learning activities outside of class as well)?
15) Is it important that the school offers peer groups of people with my interests and experience level?
16) Can I relocate?
17) Will my company be willing to sponsor me?
18) Do I need financial aid (scholarship/loans) or just prefer it?
19) Do I need to spread the cost of an MBA over as many years as possible to minimize borrowing funds?
20) Am I reasonably sure that the MBA is my ideal next step?
The answers to the questions above will be your guidelines for selecting an MBA program. Only when you're clear on what your personal, professional and academic needs are will your conversations with school representatives be meaningful and your questions about a particular school's offerings targeted.