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Considering an MBA? Ask Yourself These Questions First

While round one MBA applications are still months away, experts say now is a good time for prospective applicants to lay the groundwork for a solid and strategic application.

Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed critical self-evaluation steps that every prospective applicant should be taking now to set the foundation for a strong MBA application.


The first step to the self-evaluation process, Blackman says, is to ask yourself what your career goals are.

“Do you work in a field where MBAs are not traditionally required? You may still benefit from the degree,” Blackman writes. “Especially if your career goals include rising to senior management within your company or starting your own company. As a first step, look around at the people you most admire and want to be like within your target company or industry. Read their bios to see their skillset and educational background.”

Experts say it can be helpful to think about both your long-term and short-term goals.

“Your long-term MBA goal is generally where you plan to be 10 years out, while your short-term MBA goals are the stepping stones paving the way to get there,” Heidi Hillis, an MBA admissions coach at Fortuna Admissions and alumnus of Stanford GSB, writes. “Short-term goals involve your near-immediate plans – either for an internship and/or two to three years post b-school. During this period, you should be acquiring specific expertise or skills that’s essential for you to reach your long-term vision.”


When determining your career goals, it should become clear whether or not an MBA fits into those goals or not.

“Consider your expectations for the degree and critically evaluate whether your hopes match the reality of an MBA program,” Blackman writes. “Do you know any current MBA students or alumni? Sounding them out is a great way to start your research and make sure you are committed to the MBA application journey.”

An MBA can be extremely beneficial for many. But, Blackman says, the degree has to be right for you and your goals.

“While an MBA is a great experience, ultimately it’s a tool to advance your professional aims,” Blackman writes. “The degree is highly focused on practical business applications, not intellectual curiosity.”

And if an MBA doesn’t align with your goals, don’t worry. There are plenty of other graduate degrees that may work better for you.

“Think about the academic focus, the time you will spend pursuing the degree, and what works best for you personally,” Blackman writes.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Fortuna Admissions


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