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Why Do You Want an MBA Now?

Once you’ve answered the question, “Why do you want an MBA?” you’ll likely be faced with a follow-up question: “Why now?”

I assume that you already know why you want an MBA.  (If you don’t, see last week’s tip, “Three Essential Keys To The Goals Essay.”)

Consider the following when you respond to “Why now”:

  1. Do you have the work experience to apply now? Establish how many years and what kind of work experience your target program prefers. Then determine if the quality and quantity of your work experience is comparable. If your experience is not comparable, then you need to consider a different program or push off applying for another year (or more).
  2. Does your target program support your post-MBA goals? If your future goals are still muddled, then you may want to spend another year clarifying what you really want to do before quitting your current job and diving into an MBA program.
  3. Are you stagnating in your current position? If your career progression has plateaued, then now can be a good time to earn an MBA. If you’re still at the bottom of the learning curve, however, and you’re looking forward to growth, increased responsibilities, and promotions, then you may want to hold off.
  4. Do you need an MBA to make your next professional move?

If you answered “yes” to the questions above, and have good reasons for those “yeses,” then you have the material to respond persuasively to the “Why now?” questions both in your essays and interviews.

Your actual response will probably focus on #3 & #4, and be positive. Don’t complain about your job or belittle your work. Focus on your plans for the future. Show that given your past work experience, when you learned a lot, and your future goal, which requires the skills and benefits of an MBA from Top Choice Bschool, now is the time for you to exchange your professional briefcase for an MBA student’s backpack.

By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the soon-to released book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.

Our Series On Perfecting Your MBA Essays: