Search
Advice » Career Development» Education & Training » Are You Ready for an MBA?
Are You Ready for an MBA?

Are You Ready for an MBA?

If you're considering an MBA, you may wonder if you're cut out for the experience. Joanne Starr, assistant dean of admissions at the University of California (UC) Irvine's The Paul Merage School of Business, shares her insights into the process of considering, applying for and taking part in an MBA program.

Is It Right for Me?

"An MBA is a generalist degree, applicable to many business functions," says Starr. "Ask yourself if you know what you want to learn and where you see your career going."

MBA candidates should be "focused on business organization and how it functions," says Starr. She recommends spending time on the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Web site to ensure your decision is well-informed. The GMAC is a nonprofit organization that provides information on graduate management education and administers the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

What Do I Need to Be a Successful MBA Student?

According to Starr, many abilities are useful while pursuing an MBA degree, with special emphasis on two in particular. "There are basic quantitative-analytical skills for business decision-making that we assume people need to know," Starr says. "How the program assesses that is going to vary. You're going to take certain classes anywhere you go, all of which assume that when confronted with a bunch of numbers you're going to be OK. [MBA applicants also need] communication skills. It's common for students to be in teams that are culturally and professionally diverse."

How Can I Find a Program?

The average search begins about 18 months before starting the program. "The complexity is not finding information but trying to use the vast quantity of information out there," Starr notes. In addition to each school's Web site, there are sites that compare and rank schools, such as BusinessWeek, GMAC and US News and World Report and the Wall Street Journal.

A primary factor to consider is geography. "Most people find employment in the school's area," says Starr, so think about where you want to settle after school before you choose. Business schools draw on local talent for speakers, and local business leaders are found on school boards, so schools reflect the character and concerns of businesses with which they interact.

Another key factor in your decision should be whether you want to attend a big school or a small one. "If you have desire for specific education, big is the way," Starr says. There will be more classes in your area of interest. The downside of a large school is you're not going to get as much personal interaction. "You'll know some students, but not your whole class."

UC Irvine's programs are relatively small. Students in each of the school's four programs (full-time, healthcare, executive and fully employed part-time) know each other. "They talk about how important it is to be part of a small engaged community," Starr says.

What Do Business Schools Want?

Schools consider GMAT scores, undergraduate GPA, work experience, campus involvement and essay answers, as you would assume. The student's application should reflect knowledge of the program, an understanding of what an MBA education is for and "some evidence of organizational savvy," says Starr.

Yet she notes, "There is no formula." Many factors combine to make a successful applicant. Most programs prefer applicants who aren't fresh from undergraduate school. Classes at an MBA program are more useful to students who can relate work experience to their learning, and the quality of class discussion is improved when students can add their own insights. The work experience need not be long or in a specific field, according to Starr. "It's about what you've learned from your work experience and how you articulate that," she says.

UC Irvine asks applicants to describe a time they've created an innovative solution to a problem. "I've not seen a particular work experience that prepares you for that question," Starr says.

To further explore whether or not business school is right for you, perform some self-assessments using resources on the GMAC's mba.com section, and then talk with the admissions offices -- and graduates -- of schools you find interesting.

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

Best Version Media
Posted: 12/21/2014
Northbrook, IL, 60062
Best Version Media
Posted: 12/21/2014
DeKalb, IL, 60115
Best Version Media
Posted: 12/21/2014
New Albany, IN, 47150
Best Version Media
Posted: 12/21/2014
Evanston, IL, 60201
Best Version Media
Posted: 12/21/2014
Schererville, IN, 46375

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.11.10.17-306
eTrustLogo