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When is the “right” time for an MBA education?

Today, I’m excited to share this post from our friends at The MBA Exchange. If you can’t decide if now’s the time to pursue your MBA, read on for some helpful tips.

One of the most distinctive and beneficial aspects of MBA education — compared to most other graduate disciplines — is that the most prestigious schools prefer that applicants have a few years of full-time work experience before they enroll. By comparison, most grad students in fields like law, medicine, psychology, etc. transition into their master’s programs immediately following college graduation.

There’s no magic number of years that everyone should consider when timing an MBA education. As an admissions consulting resource for over 3,600 applicants since 1996, The MBA Exchange has had successful clients who ranged in age from 20 to 50. Finding the “ideal” point in your life to pursue business school is a much more subjective, qualitative decision.

So, how does one know when to go for an MBA? By addressing these four questions, the “right” answer will emerge:

1. What would I love to be doing professionally at key milestones in my life: 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now?

2. On my current non-MBA trajectory, will the next 3 years (i.e., the same time frame that I could be attending business school) provide me with substantial knowledge, perspective and relationships that will get me closer to that vision?

3. Are the personal limitations (e.g., financial resources, family obligations, geographic constraints, etc.) that impact my ability to enroll in business school more of a challenge now or in the future?

4. If I prefer to postpone business school until later, but unanticipated factors make it impossible to enroll at that time, will I deeply regret not having attended now? This kind of introspection will enable you to see your true priorities, weigh the pros and cons, and develop a timeline for making one of the most important decisions of your life. However, there’s still one very important question left for you to address:

5. Will I be admitted to the business school that I want to attend when I want to enroll? This unknown is best examined with the benefit of professional experience and expertise. So, I invite you to request a free evaluation of your MBA candidacy so you will have a clear sense of your potential for and the probability of b-school admission.


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