I recently applied to grad school to go back to school this August as an MBA candidate. Now, I don’t pretend to be an expert by any means but I thought I would offer some tips for anyone in the same boat.
1. Focus on cost FIRST.
If you’re life me, you love to research and know EVERYTHING there is to know. But, if some schools are outside your budget, don’t focus too much time/ energy on them. I made this mistake with UNC and Duke. I fell in love with the programs they had to offer but I can’t go there so I really should have been spending my time on financially feasible programs and not setting myself up for the “bummer moment” when I finally admitted that I just couldn’t do Duke’s awesome international 2 year program.
2. Think about timing.
You need to be thinking about grad school about 9-12 months before you are ready to go back. Most first rounds (for programs beginning in Fall) start closing the prior October or November.
Where do you want to go? It’s likely that, unlike searching for an undergrad school, you know have strings holding you down. Be realistic about what they are? For me, I’m at a point in my life where I’d really like to be close enough to my family so that I don’t have to take a airplane to visit my parents and little sister.
4. Post-MBA Career
What do people usually do after they graduate from the program that you’re looking at? UNC’s program is really nice but their graduates pretty much are all aiming for one of a few big name big companies. I, on the other hand, am pretty deeply committed to staying in the world of startups and post-startups.
5. Class Profile (especially undergrad degrees).
I have a Business undergrad and I’m going back for an MBA. Some programs are more conducive to people who aren’t from a business background (Baylor MBA). When I did meet and greets with MBA graduates, some of them told me that I’d have to have a “story” for why I was doing an MBA after already doing a business undergrad. Well, my story is that I have more to learn. Don’t we all? I looked for a program where at least 25% of the class would also be building on a business undegrad.
I really lucked out with my undergraduate degree by choosing a school with an immense network of alumni. This was not intentional but it’s been a God send. When I looked at MBA programs, I was thrilled to double that alumni network by having two alumni groups to which I belonged. I recommend a strong and vast alumni network to anyone looking at any form of higher education.
I hope this helps. And, if you can, please pray for me to get into the school of my choice or the school which God deems right for my path.