Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Steps in Pursuing Your MBA

Greetings from Olin Business School at Wash U in St Louis! After ten days of orientation and our first full week of school, we are off to a busy, but fun-filled beginning to the school year.  Having just started classes, I can’t help but reflect the experiences which led me here.  I feel compelled to offer a few lessons that I learned along the business school application journey. I got a great deal of insight from reading blogs like these, so I hope you do too!

First, before making your decision to pursue an MBA, be honest with yourself about why this degree is important to you. There is no wrong reason (and the MBA is not for everyone), but it is crucial that you are clear on why you want an MBA and why this is the appropriate time for you.  You should start by identifying what your goals are after school (both short and long-term…your applications will ask you, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about it).  Understanding this will inherently guide you to which format is best for you, whether it be a full-time, part-time, or EMBA program and will probably also help to isolate geographically where would be best for you.  Using online tools (school websites, blogs, etc.) and talking with current students you may know will provide greater insight into which programs are a good fit for you.

Second, depending on your circumstances, I suggest discussing your options with your boss, your mentor, and potentially, some close co-workers. If you are hoping to return to the industry you currently work in, it is important to understand your options and talk to people who have had similar experiences who can help you realize how an MBA is important to achieving your goals. I spoke to people at my former company who had done full-time, part-time, or EMBA programs, as well as several people who had reached my career goals without an MBA. This gave me a clear picture on what value an MBA would add to my experience within this industry.

Finally, it is important that you are applying to schools that are the right fit for your goals. I did not attend any fairs or forums, and in retrospect, I definitely should have. I would urge you all to go to at least one to speak to admissions teams and current students to get a real feel for each school you are interested in.  In fact, the Olin Preview Weekend is coming up in October and I would highly recommend coming to visit!

Good Luck!
Leigh Hunt, Fort
é Fellow
MBA 2014, Olin Business School at Washington University

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