What To Know Before You Start Your MBA

Some of you know my story and how I ended up sitting in four-hour classes learning about managerial economics. If you don’t, then read this real quick.

I’m not trying to scare anyone away from business school. My close friends and family know that I wasn’t the most diligent student, but I worked hard and prepared the best way I knew possible. If you don’t prepare, then business school will be a billboard on the side of the road as you pass by.

The GMAT

It’s no secret that graduate business school requires an admissions exam. A perfect score is 800 with the lowest at 200. There is no magic number that you need to get into school, but if you can’t score a 400, you better have a perfect undergraduate GPA, excellent references, and possibly be related to someone on the board of trustees at the college.

I would spend at least two hours a day studying for three months. If you want my recommendation, then use these study guides straight from the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

It’s true, I do get paid if you click on the picture and purchase the guide bundle. But it doesn’t make it any less helpful. The study guides will help you prepare for the timing and format of the test if nothing else.

The biggest benefit for me was rediscovering some of the math and problem solving skills I had buried in the corners of my brain.

The test is timed in four sections for a total of 3.5 hours. The security is rigid with a proctor, no cell phones, and fingerprint identification.

Work Experience

We are going to move past what you did in your undergraduate studies, mainly because you can’t go back and change those grades. Most of people thinking of attending business school already have a great job and don’t want to leave it.

Good!

There are many great programs that offer night classes for the working man and woman. My biggest adjustment to business school was my extremely sans-business background. Many of my “peers” already had a great understanding of the concepts and theories I was trying to grasp.

Research and References

Everyone is focused on saving money. Don’t start the journey of researching a graduate school if you want to be frugal. It’s going to cost you money, free time, and regrets. So… You’ve decided you don’t care and it’s time to look for schools.

  • Pick a school from this top 100 list.
  • Pick a school that is geographically close.
  • Have strong references that can speak to your aptitude and potential.
  • See what concentrations¬†will fit you.
  • Is business school what you really want?

Again, I am not trying to discourage anyone. The farther someone researches and delves into the idea of this adventure, the more decisive they will be. Either someone will be completely excited or exhausted at this point.

Another small point of contention – pick a school that is AACSB accredited. Less than 5% of business schools worldwide achieve this accreditation. Any employer who is specifically looking for an MBA graduate will either know or want to know the accreditation.

I could’ve spent more time gaining work experience and perhaps I should’ve taken the GMAT again, but I chose an appropriately accredited school that admitted me despite my low undergraduate GPA. Execute your due diligence, and as always feel free to ask me for advice!

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