In the climatic ending of When Harry Met Sally, Harry professes his love for Sally in a dynamic speech that ends with this famous movie quote: “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
While going back to school and falling in love are dramatically different life events, anyone who has recently decided to get their MBA can relate to this feeling of eagerness. Why? Because when you realize you want to go to business school, you want to go to business school as soon as possible.
But let’s not be too hasty.
While the right time to go to business school isn’t the same for everyone, this we know for sure: Applying to get your MBA right after undergrad is too soon. If the ink on your bachelor’s degree is still a bit tacky, it is safe to assume that now is NOT the time to apply for your MBA.
However, if you’ve been out of undergrad for a few years and still think getting an MBA is the right choice for you, keep reading.
Despite how ready you may feel, there are several reasons why you might want to wait just a bit longer. We know patience is hard but if you want to get into a decent MBA program and leave with a solid job offer, it may be in your best interest to apply next year (or maybe even later).
6 Reasons You Should Wait a Year to Apply for Your MBA
1. You’ll know exactly why you need an MBA and what you plan to do with it.
It’s no secret that business schools are most likely to accept students with clear career goals. If you think you want to go to b-school but aren’t able to explain why, you may want to take some time to identify your motivations. Not only will this help you win favor with the admissions committee, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence and assurity.
On top of being able to get into a better program, knowing why you need an MBA will guide you through your education. After years of real-life experience, you’ll understand your goals well enough to apply to a program that specializes in what you actually want to study and avoid the common mistake of falling into the wrong program simply because it’s popular.
2. Your application will be stronger.
Waiting to get your MBA means more time to prepare your application. After years of waiting for the right time to apply, you are far more likely to stay on top of deadlines and ensure that every aspect of your application is as good as it possibly can be.
Take your time to perfect your essays, retake your GMAT, and get the proper recommendations. If you feel any part of your application could be improved with more time, that’s a good sign that you ought to hold off until next year.
3. You’ll have more professional experience.
Many people look at getting their MBA as a springboard for professional experience when it should be the other way around. Most MBA students in top programs had five years of experience when they applied. Time spent in an entry level job is the best way to understand why you need an MBA (see reason #1) and will give you the insight you need to craft an outstanding application.
Once in business school, your work experience will allow you to approach your education on the foundation of practice, not theory. Having an arsenal of real-life case studies to refer to throughout business school will help you better understand the material and allow you to adequately participate in your classes.
4. You’ll be able to choose the best job for you.
Your time spent in the workforce before going to business school will be valuable long after you graduate. Many business schools boast high placement rates without reporting the caliber of the jobs their graduates are working. Your experience will help you choose a program that’ll get you a job offer in line with your career goals.
Did you know that many companies are looking to hire MBA graduates who already have professional experience? In fact, it may be your previous work experience that plays a starring role in landing your post-MBA career. The more time you spend in a professional setting means the more networking connections you’ll be able to make… and the more networking connections you make, the better your chance you have of getting your dream job.
5. You’ll be prepared to take advantage of your b-school experience.
Having years of work experience also means years of networking experience. This practice will allow you to make the most of your time spent earning your business degree. You’ll be able to participate in class discussions in meaningful ways and engage with your professors, building meaningful relationships that are likely to benefit you down the road.
Your understanding of your career trajectory will also allow you to join in your business school’s student community in meaningful ways. When you know your unique contributions and interests, you will be able to participate fully in the resources offered by your program.
6. You’ll be able to finance your MBA, and maybe even save some money.
If you’re reading this, you already know that business school is expensive… and if you want to have the full experience, you’re likely to spend more than just a base tuition cost. Other MBA-related costs may include: visiting your target schools, books, room and board, a travel-based program, etc.… not to mention the years of lost wages. Set yourself up financially and save as much as possible during those years between undergrad and business school.
Strengthen your applications for financial aid and scholarships by giving yourself adequate time to craft them. Use your work and real-life experience as reasons why you are strong candidate for financial assistance and dedicate ample time to researching and applying. Delaying school for a year in order to take full advantage of these opportunities may end up saving you thousands on tuition. Worth it? We think so.
Once you realize you want to go to business school, you want to go to business school as soon as possible.
We know you are likely feeling eager to dive head first into this next stage of your life. And while business school may be the right choice for you, it may not be the right choice for you right now. Be sure to evaluate your situation honestly before you apply and know that waiting may be in your best interest. Take time to discover your dream program, craft the perfect application, and get the most value out of your business school experience. Someday you’ll look back and be so glad you did!