Are You Ready for B-School? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Submitting Your Application
Maybe business school has been on your radar since college, or maybe it’s something you just started thinking about recently. Either way, you’re probably wondering how to know when you’re ready to take the plunge. Here at Darden, we see a wide range of applicants with diverse backgrounds and years of work experience. These are a few of the questions to ask yourself when deciding if it’s time to get to work on your essays and round up your references:
- What are my career goals?
Not everyone knows their specific career goals when heading to business school, but as a general rule, they have a pretty good idea. Maybe you want to move up within your current industry or company. Maybe you want to switch to an entirely different industry and need to build the foundation to get the job that you want. Or maybe you’re aspiring entrepreneur who wants to learn more about business so you can start one of your own. Business school can propel you in many directions, but you can also miss out on great opportunities if you don’t know what you are looking for.
- Do I have enough work experience?
Most MBA programs want you to have an average of four years of work experience. At Darden, the average age of students in our full-time program is 27. Having work experience is important because it teaches you how to work with a team, practice your leadership skills and learn more about the business world, which in turn will help you lay out your career goals.
- Do I have the basic skills necessary to thrive in business school?
While Darden looks for students with a wide range of experiences, there are certain skill sets that will come in handy as you embark on your MBA journey. One of those is quantitative analysis, which will be useful as soon as you start to study for the GMAT or GRE, and will continue to be helpful as you prepare to lead in the business world. If you didn’t take many quantitative classes in college, it might be helpful to brush up on your skills so you are ready for the first day of b-school.
- Do I know what I’m looking for in an MBA program?
There are all kinds of MBA programs around the world. Some are full-time; some allow you to work while you get your degree. Some excel at finance, while others specialize in general management or consulting. The options are endless, so it is up to you to figure out which school is right for you.
If you’re unsure about the answers to some of these questions, it may be helpful to take a course designed to give you an introduction to business school topics, such as Darden’s new Darden Business Essentials in the Washington, DC area. It’s designed to introduce you to fundamentals in the functional areas of Accounting, Finance, Operations and Marketing, so it’s the perfect way to obtain new skills, fill gaps in your resume, and begin implementing business best practices in your job as you gain valuable years of work experience. And, since it’s taught by members of Darden’s top-ranked faculty, it’s a great opportunity to test out the real business school experience.
And then, whenever you are ready to continue your MBA journey, we encourage you to learn more about the Darden experience by visiting our website, attending an event, or visiting us in Charlottesville.
Best of luck in your search!
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