Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes are highly popular, as evidenced by the slew of institutions that offer them.
It’s unsurprising, seeing that MBA graduates typically enjoy more competitive salaries than non-MBA holders, develop transferable skills that can be used across various industries, in addition to those that would help them branch into management positions, among a host of other benefits.
Despite being a coveted postgraduate degree, pursuing an MBA is challenging on many fronts. For some, this includes striking a balance between work and study, dealing with the challenging coursework, and developing an expertise in an area they may be unfamiliar with, and so forth.
The experience can seem tempestuous, but it doesn’t have to be when certain things are taken into consideration before embarking on your MBA journey. Here are some of the things you can do to prepare for the MBA experience:
Choose the right business school
MBA programmes vary across business schools, which is why it’s essential to choose one that caters to your personal and professional interests, or risk setting yourself up for disappointment once you’ve enrolled.
Some programmes pride themselves on providing students with experiential learning and strong industry partnerships that complement lessons in the classroom to ensure their career-readiness and reflect a modern curriculum; some are highly analytical, or specialise in different areas of study.
Competitive applicants may want to consider the school’s accreditation, too.
Get familiar with the language of business, if you haven’t already
MBAs can come with an eye-watering cost, so invest in preparatory courses, more so if you come from a non-business background, to ensure a smoother journey upon enrolling in your programme.
For instance, Harvard Business School Online’s Credential of Readiness (CORe) programme – a self-paced course taught by HBS professors – takes about 12 weeks to complete. It aims to instill students with a deep understanding of essential business concepts and problem-solving skills, and help them prepare for the MBA classroom.
Aspiring MBA students can expect to go through voluminous reading materials upon enrolling in a programme, so prepare for an MBA by stepping up efforts to read about topics relating to business, current affairs and global markets, among other areas, as these can prove helpful during your coursework.
Hone your networking skills
Numerous reports suggest many MBA graduates have found jobs by networking. The recruitment race also begins almost as soon as day one of your course.
So why wait until you enroll in an MBA programme to learn how to network? Polish your skills before enrolling; once class starts, make it a point to network with both current students as well as the institution’s alumni to widen your network, in addition to meeting and learning from others who may share similar professional interests as you. Down the road, these contacts can serve useful later in your career.