Six Tips for Women Who are Considering an MBA

Thinking about an MBA? If so, you aren’t alone. Last year more than 50,000 women took the CAT with their sights set on graduate management education, which offers a tremendous channel to access greater professional opportunities, increase your earning potential and strengthen your network. Here are tips for women to improve your success both in the MBA application process and in business school:

Define your career goals

For many young professional women looking for a career change, business school seems like the perfect pathway to make the transition. The MBA provides two years to figure out what’s next. Well, not exactly. In reality, the whirlwind of business school internship search begins shortly after arriving on campus. Not having clear goals will make finding a job more difficult and may lead you to ‘follow the herd’ of your peers to industries and internships that don’t position you well for your professional interests. Take the time now to define your short-term and long-term career goals. Consider the industries and jobs that you want as well as the impact that you want to make in your career. This will prepare you for the MBA job search and also strengthen your MBA applications

Take a quantitative course

If you don’t have a quantitative background, such as undergraduate studies in business, engineering, or math, consider taking some additional coursework now. Suggested classes include statistics, finance and calculus. The course provider is not important – you can take an online, community college or college course. Check with your target schools to identify the course subjects that they recommend. And get an “A” in the course to demonstrate your readiness for the quantitative rigor of an MBA program.

Cultivate long-term relationships at MBA networking events

Overwhelmingly, MBA alumni cite the network that they developed as the most valuable aspect of the business school experience. Building MBA relationships though should not start on your first day of school, but long before that, during the application process. Schools host networking events that enable prospective candidates to meet school representatives. Avoid focusing completely on gathering information to aid in the MBA application process; take a longer view of these interactions. You are attending these events to find the MBA community that you will join for life. Many of these relationships will extend well passed the MBA admissions decision, which is real advantage for women, who tend to build lasting relationships.

Use all of the resources directed at increasing women in MBA programs

Women are underrepresented in MBA programs as compared to men. Business schools and non-profit organizations, like the Forte Foundation, offer events, mentor ship opportunities and programs to encourage more women to apply to MBA programs. Take advantage of these initiatives to meet MBA admissions officers, strengthen your MBA candidacy and determine which schools offer the best fit for you.

Don’t rely solely on women’s events though. Likely 60-70% of the students in your MBA class and more than 70% of your school’s alumni will be male. Leverage the entire MBA community in the application process.

Believe in yourself and your ability to thrive in business school

As you meet MBA candidates with amazing backgrounds you may be tempted to second guess your ability to get admitted or to be successful in business school. Reject this thinking by focusing instead on your strengths, your unique attributes and what you can contribute to an MBA community. Schools want candidates from different backgrounds with diverse professional and personal experiences. Determine what makes you distinctive and showcase that in your MBA application.

Save your money

Business school is expensive – two years of tuition can run you more than Rs20,00,000. You will be able to access scholarships and student loans to cover the cost of school. But there is no special financing available for covering the cost of getting admitted to business school. Expect to invest Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000 for application expenses, including the GMAT, a test prep course, application fees, and travel expenses for campus visits. Save your money and reduce your living expenses now to cover your impending business school application expenses.


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