“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon
I was shocked by how natural it felt to decide to get an MBA.
I am of a chronically self-evaluating ilk, and perpetually competing with myself to do something bigger, better, more challenging, and suited to my strengths. I’m at a point in my career where it’s time to “level up,” and it seems that something is preventing me from being where I want, and it’s certainly not a lack of talent, work ethic, or drive. I’m also at a point in my life where I have little to lose, few expectations, and often jump at the chance to practice openness to adversity and take on new challenges. And for getting an MBA, that feels like the perfect storm.
Personally, I decided rather quickly — it was months ago, but already feels like a distant dream. Think long, think wrong was a helpful litmus test here. As one matures personally and professionally, I recommend listening to one’s intuition and operating fearlessly from both the brain and the gut. Whether it’s business school, life, or a workout program, I consciously choose to be unrelentingly tough with myself in general, so that I have the best chance to achieve the results that I want. Calculated risks and the “YOLO” spirit have gotten me to where I am, and I am ever ready to go farther. That’s why it was easy to decide to get an MBA.
Deciding to get an MBA online, however, was an entirely different ballgame.
As soon as I made my decision, I pitched this project to my superiors, hoping that I would be professionally encouraged to write through the process. If you’re considering an MBA, especially an online program, I hope you’ll read my “From Start to Finish” series. I hope you’ll use this and future posts as a step-by-step guidebook, highlighting some of the common (and not-so-common) processes of going from prospective online MBA student to successful MBA graduate with a bright future. If you’ve decided to get an MBA, here’s a pre-planning to-do list.
The “Now What” To Do List
1. Ask yourself the following questions. Have good answers.
- What led me here? What’s the #1 reason I’ve decided to get an MBA?
- Will I keep a full-time job while preparing for life after my MBA?
- What things do I want to change? What things do I want to stay the same? (Often, those who choose to get an MBA want to completely change careers, or to continue progress in their chosen field.)
- Can I afford it? If I can’t afford it, how can I get an MBA paid for? Will my company pay for it? Do I qualify for loans?
- Part time or full time? Executive MBA, regular MBA, joint degree, or otherwise? Online or offline? Know why.
- Am I currently qualified to enter an MBA program? What, if any, prerequisites would be necessary for admission?
- What subject areas am I most interested in?
- What areas of the country am I most interested in?
- What future fields am I most interested in?
2. Get a calendar. Once you pick your target schools, write down the dates of all admissions deadlines.
3. Begin researching a wide range of programs and schools. You can do that through onlineMBA.com.
4. Assess where you are, where you want to be, and the effect an MBA will take on your life, job, and/or family. Consider several different types of MBA programs.
5. Congratulate yourself! Big first step.
6. Keep reading these posts.
Bethany Perryman is a contributor to OnlineMBA.com, who is pursuing her Masters of Business Administration online.