how to pick a business school

7 Steps to Take When Preparing for a Master’s in Business Administration

MBA Programs

By: Rosana Beechum

Earning a master’s in business administration (MBA) can equip you with a credential that will make you a more eligible candidate for an extensive selection of managerial and administrative jobs. Of course, since such high-ranking positions are often the highest-paying and most prestigious jobs on the company roster, pursuing an MBA is an understandable and admirable goal for any ambitious professional to set their mind towards. However, the simple act of earning the degree isn't going to get you where you're trying to go. To achieve the desired outcome of having a fruitful career, here are seven preparatory steps you can take to get ready for an MBA program:

1. Attend an MBA Event to Compare Schools

Opting for the first online program that you find can be tempting when you're in a rush to get started, but it's better to examine all available options first. Attending an MBA tour event is a great way to interact with schools that offer business administration degree programs. You'll be able to ask questions about the curriculum and requirements, ask for general advice on the enrollment process, and receive direct one-on-one support from some of the best MBA schools in the country. You can learn more about their events and register to attend at The MBA Tour website.

2. Consider All Relevant Career Paths

Knowing exactly how you're going to use an MBA to your advantage before you even start studying is a wise approach because then you can gear your other academic and self-improvement efforts towards that end goal. Visit the top job search sites and browse through listings for positions that prefer or require candidates with MBAs.

3. Think of Another Degree That Will Complement Your MBA

While an MBA is certainly a fast-track to establishing yourself as a qualified professional for a variety of desirable job positions, it doesn't have to be the end of your career advancement efforts. In fact, having one or two accompanying degrees will only serve to elevate your chances of being the chosen candidate when you're vying for competitive openings.

4. Understand that You Will Need to Set a School Schedule

If you opt for a fully online program, it's easy to feel like you'll be able to knock out the modules in no time without major impact on your current obligations. Although you will indeed have the flexibility of making your own schooling schedule, it's imperative that you do so from a realistic standpoint – allocating a decent amount of time to your education each day instead of putting it off perpetually.

5. Adjust Upcoming Work Obligations Accordingly

In line with the previous tip, you may need to make some adjustments to your working life by taking certain days off or switching to a part-time roll. While that may reduce your current income, it's important to remember that you're working towards a much higher-paying career, so sacrificing some of your current work hours will be worth it in the long run.

6. Take a Few Learning Improvement Courses

Short courses like those found on Udemy and other course provider platforms can give you quick certifications in a matter of weeks or months. If you focus on these courses while studying for your MBA, by the time you graduate you'll have several accompanying certificates and qualifications that will boost the appeal of your resume even further. Likewise, improving your ability to learn new concepts with memory exercises, puzzles, mini courses, and quizzes will help you prepare to get the most out of the MBA degree program you choose.

7. Line Up Career Enhancement Efforts

What are you going to do after you graduate from an MBA program? While it might seem a bit early to start thinking about that, being prepared will help you make appropriate decisions regarding your specializations and educational efforts going forward.

Are you prepared to relocate to find your dream job? Is working abroad something you might be interested in? What is the exact lifestyle you are striving towards? Answering these simple questions can help you develop an effective career enhancement strategy that can be activated as soon as you've obtained your MBA.

1 Hour Per Day is Better Than Nothing

Even if you're only dedicating one hour a day towards your schooling, you'll be slowly but surely moving towards your goal instead of stagnating. If you have the discipline to cram more work and study into your everyday life, you might not even have to reduce your hours at work as mentioned in tip #5 above –  simply requesting a shift change or asking for an extra day off could provide the adjustment needed to allow you a bit of study time before and after work. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how quickly you want to upgrade your credentials, but keep in mind that procrastination and hesitation are negative traits.

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