How to Prepare for an MBA

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If you’re considering an MBA, you have already taken the first step in preparation. Post-graduate learning is not for everyone and preparing yourself to enter that arena can be intimidating, so even simply having the curiosity to explore the possibility is a significant first step. You probably already know that you will need to research and visit schools, study for the GMAT, and start filling out your applications. But what you might not yet know is that the preparation does not end there. After you have made up your mind, passed your exams, and selected your courses, there are still things to consider.

Funding

How you plan to pay for your MBA is a huge part of your overall preparations. Since your life position likely looks different at this stage of your education than it did while you were in undergrad, your payment plans will reflect those differences. There are many choices available to help you determine how you will pay for higher education and luckily there is no one way to get your educational costs covered.

If you are currently working, your employer might have a program in place that includes a company sponsorship for part, or all, of your MBA program. This option is ideal but also typically comes with conditions regarding company loyalty and payback consequences if you decide to leave. If your company does not offer this or you are uncomfortable with the terms you can certainly finance your MBA program independently. If you cannot pay out of pocket for your education, you can take out a student loan from a private lender to pay for college.

Research Your School of Choice

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is not uncommon for potential students to pick a school based on its name and implications without thoroughly researching the details that will determine if the school is a good fit for them personally. When you are applying to the top colleges there are things to keep in mind such as the community of students, length of the program, and what you will need to bring to the application and interview beyond good grades.

If you are going to be living in the town of the school you are attending this is also an important piece to think about. Even the best school is going to feel torturous if it is in an area that you are unhappy living in. Conversely, if you are planning to earn your MBA online, that will also impact the pool of choices from which you can decide.

The alumni network from your MBA program can help you in more ways than one. Thanks to business social networking sites you can find people who have already gone through the programs from which you are deciding and reach out to them to hear a part of their story. Someone’s real-life experience is a valuable resource because it allows you to hear about more than just the benefits and positives that are presented to you from more formal research avenues.

Mentally Prepare

Once you have made all the on-paper decisions it is now time to focus on how to prepare yourself, your support network, and your lifestyle to accommodate this endeavor. Most business school candidates know to expect a challenging and fast-paced academic program that will be intellectually demanding but what they might not innately expect are the social demands that accompany earning your MBA. Keep in mind that while your lifestyle will need to bend to make room for the requirements of business school, it is important to learn how to maintain a work life balance to achieve the level of mental health and strength that is necessary to carry you through your program.