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Before You Bite Off an MBA

Contributed by Mary Ann Kelly

This is the conclusion of our post from last week, where the MBA grads we interviewed talk about important considerations before committing to B-school.

What do you hope to gain? This is a more conscious, deliberate choice than undergrad. You are about to spend a lot of time, money and energy pursuing an MBA. Chances are you’re doing this on your own dime, with a full-time job and possibly a family that wants to see you once in awhile. You’ll make personal sacrifices and need to establish priorities… and so will others around you. Especially if you intend to continue working while going to school, here are some important questions to ask:

  • What do I hope to accomplish?
  • Is it the right time in my life to pursue this degree?
  • How will this transform my career path?
  • Will my work, friends and family be supportive?

Choosing a Program – Your choice of school may be impacted by convenience, the opportunity to network with influential leaders, outplacement support, and/or summer intern programs. It’s important to choose a program that will support your career goals.

Your Financial Options – Find out if your current employer will reimburse any of the costs associated with your MBA program. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable enough at your current job to stay for the duration of the program. If your company does not offer reimbursement you can  determine the length of the program based on how much you can spend per semester. Many people complete the part-time program in 2-3 years.

So is it worth going into debt? All of the women we spoke with thought it was the best money they ever spent.

Did we mention it’s a capital C Commitment?! The best test to determine your motivation is studying for the GMATs. If you can make it through that, then you are ready!

In conclusion, the executives that we spoke with all agreed that getting their MBA makes them more marketable, gives them a competitive advantage and has opened up job opportunities. That may have been the goal starting out, but unexpected benefits included greater self-awareness and confidence: How to recognize and alter their behavior to achieve better outcomes.

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