The M.B.A., a degree synonymous with money and respect, has quickly become one of the most sought-after graduate degrees in the world today. Despite the recent economic downturn, interest in business school has not diminished but grown. In fact, Harvard Business School just recently reported a 24% increase in application volume for the 2008-2009 application year.
As someone who recently navigated the ins and outs of the application process, I would like to share my personal experiences and opinions in the hopes that it will benefit others who may consider business school in the future.
The first and most important question anyone considering business school should ask themselves is: Is business school right for me?
There are all sorts of reasons why people choose to apply to business school. Many think it’s a quick and easy route to wealth and power in the corporate world. Some see it as an extension of college in the form of one big party. Some apply for immigration reasons. Then there are others who apply simply because they are bored or uninspired with life, which, in my opinion, is the worst reason to apply.
When I asked myself this question two years ago, I was in a unique place in my life. I had recently changed careers, switching from tech to consulting. Having come from a highly technical background, I knew I had to get a formal business education to succeed in my new industry. On the personal front, I was in a seriously relationship with some who was planning to pursue a career abroad. In order to prepare myself for my own career abroad, I had to expand my personal and professional network and learn to work in an international business environment. Lastly, I was involved in a number of professional and non-profit organizations where I felt I could make a bigger impact with a business degree. Everything considered, going to business school was a decision that made sense for me.
It took me nearly two years of self reflection to figure out where I was in life, what my personal and career goals were, and how a MBA will help me. During the two years of introspection, I learned new things about myself, gained a more realistic perspective on business school, and in the process, developed a new sense of respect and appreciation for the MBA degree.
Going to business school is a time consuming and expensive proposition. For the right reasons, a business education can be the best investment one can ever makes. For the wrong reasons, it is 160-170k flushed down the toilet.
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