Duke Fuqua | Mr. O&G Geoscientist
GRE 327, GPA 2.9
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Indian Globetrotter
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Stanford GSB | Mr. S.N. Bose Scholar
GMAT 770, GPA 3.84
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBB
GMAT 740, GPA 3.95
Wharton | Mr. Swing Big
GRE N/A, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Big Brother
GRE 329, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. US Army Veteran
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7

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: