Depending on your luck and economic environment, MBA can be the saviour that rescues your career out of the professional ICU or it could be a grave mistake that puts you up in a debt trap. Notwithstanding the above, a lot of people opt for an MBA, with some working for a number of years, while others jumping in right after college.
Every candidate has his own metric of the time he thinks is right for applying to an MBA abroad. This could be in the form of great confidence in one’s work along with many awards and accomplishments behind them. Or it could be a sense of vague dissatisfaction with your current field or line of work that could play the prompter.
Overall, when an MBA institution thinks that you could be a great contributor to the class and have a good amount of work experience upon your sleeve, you are then in a sweet spot that can turn out to be a good time for applying to an MBA abroad.
MBA programs across the world have their own specific times of application, interrogation and interview. So much so, it is critical to keep track of the admission season across major institutes so that you do not run out of time while filling out the application form.
The other important milestones to consider when you want to apply for an MBA abroad include:
A typical candidate at business schools like Harvard, MIT, INSEAD, HEC and London Business School has a working experience of 4-6 years, with an average age group of 27 to 30 years. So, if you have been working across any industry and feel confident of reaching a critical point in your career, you might be an ideal candidate to switch gears and opt for an MBA.
Taking the plunge at this point will raise your chances of making a fresh start, should you need change; while it could also help to turbocharge your career in the same pre-MBA field of work. This way, it is evident that your confidence in reaching that juncture is as important as any other metric of age or work experience, so that be confident of choosing the right MBA course.
Are you aware of your post-MBA goals? If yes, it will hold you in good stead as you progress with an MBA degree. If not, the fast pace of a typical MBA program means that it might not be a good idea to figure out your plans on the fly or join an MBA program as a means of taking a break from work. Overall, to take complete advantage of your program, you must have a plan and that too before you take the plunge.
Thinking about where you see yourself in 5 or 8 years could be a good starting point. This pertains not only in terms of your career, but your life and way of living as well the place on the world map where you want to be. Do you wish to work across the globe, move on to higher management or kindle your entrepreneurial spirit? Thinking backwards like this can be of immense help to widen your horizons.
Introspection of Goals Versus the MBA Program
Are you sure that your goals will be fairly well-achieved in the course of the MBA program? Or is it just a rough estimate. This is important because, while schools in the lower-tier will be quite happy to admit anyone who feigns slight interest and is able to pay up the tuition fee, a top MBA school requires that you apply a lot of thought and ingrain your motivations to do an MBA.
They want to admit serious candidates and also the ones who are a good reflection of the school’s brand equity after getting an MBA degree.
If you are clear about the role of an MBA to charge up your career, you will yourself be ready to give your best shot at admission interviews and essays, thereby increasing your odds of bagging a prestigious MBA school.
An Outside Perspective
Are you well-informed of the different possibilities outside of the ones you have defined for yourself in regards to your MBA application? Talking to people who are likely to present you only one side of the coin is a common pitfall when applying for an MBA.
Before you give serious thought to your MBA, have a conversation with alumni of the schools you are applying for, in order to get a perspective on their post-MBA career paths and growth prospects.
You can also speak to HR or senior management of potential companies in your list to get a sense of the value of an MBA in their field as well as in your chosen career path. This homework is essential to get an unbiased opinion on the ground realities of pursuing an MBA – both the pros and the cons.
After this extensive research, you can now effectively defend your decision to do or not do an MBA, knowing that you have considered all facts before committing to it.
Overall, the best time to apply for an MBA abroad is a very subjective decision and varies with a lot of factors associated with individual choice, capabilities and future career prospects. A candidate with a very long career may not find himself in the sweet spot required to justify the opportunity cost associated with pursuing an MBA, while a less experienced candidate might be ready to take the plunge in order to change or turbocharge his career.
Effectively, the best time to apply for an MBA totally depends on individual choices and conditions, as well as how effectively you can yourself justify your decision without any confusion. Therefore, considering future career moves, goal achievement, introspection and getting an unbiased opinion are important parts of solving the MBA puzzle. This will not only help you decide if an MBA is worth the time, money and effort but also get the timing right.