Whenever you want to pursue a life-long career in business, as an executive or the head of a department, odds are good that you will need an MBA in order to succeed. This educational program, usually a two-year commitment, can drastically increase your earnings potential, with the US News reporting that a chief executive earns an average of $150,000 per year. Anyone considering an MBA should get started now; here is how.
If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, your odds of getting into an MBA program are quite low. Pursue a four-year undergraduate degree in business, management, sales, marketing, finance, or a specific industry like information technology and computer science. Push yourself to get good grades, since you will be evaluated by your performance as well as your final standing in your graduating class. Cultivate a positive impression with at least three faculty members (especially your senior advisor) so that you can rely on them for letters of recommendation.
Apply For the GMAT
The barrier to entering into an MBA program is the Graduate Management Admissions Test. Like the GRE for graduate school or the LSAT for law school, nobody can get into an MBA program without doing well on the GMAT. Forbes recommends taking at least six months to prepare for the GMAT’s exam, by either enrolling in a private tutoring course or purchasing a study guide. If you have difficulty with standardized tests, you may want one-on-one tutoring in order to develop a study and strategy guide for the exam. With good grades and recommendations, a score in the 90th percentile or higher will guarantee admission to just about any MBA school. If you cannot do better than the 70th percentile, you may struggle to get into the higher-rated MBA programs.
Put Together The ApplicationWhy do you want to go to an MBA? Perhaps you want a better career trajectory, perhaps you have a specific dream job, perhaps you have a talent for leading people and organizations. The application you send into a school needs to grab the attention of the professors who may one day be your instructors. Make yourself stand out by talking about your leadership style, your job aspirations, and your track record of success. Get dynamite letters of recommendation from professors who have or had a strong relationship with you during university: do not use lukewarm examples unless they are the head of the department or have significant pull.
Think About The Cost
An MBA program can cost well into the six figures if you want to get the best possible education. For some students, this may be a mere blip on their financial radar. Others may graduate and get enough of a pay bump to cover tuition in a few years. For the majority of students, however, it may be necessary to apply for financial aid, scholarships, and loans in order to pay the cost of classes, books, and housing. While the highest-rated MBA programs have better job placement, they also have higher tuition fees. Would your career track suffer if you went to a more affordable school, or is the difference in cost worth the chance of becoming an executive? Since you are already planning on spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on the education, spend a little bit more to talk with both a career counselor and a financial planner and ensure that you have the fiscal certainty as well as definitive business skills to pursue your dream job. These investments can pay for themselves many times over if you get a better sense of how to plan for your career future.