One of the most complicated decisions about business school applications is simply when to go back.
Let’s face it, life is busy. And complicated. And stressful. Particularly if you are the type of person who wants to go back to business school. Business school is typically an attractive option for type-A personalities, those who are driven to succeed, achieve and lead. When you are doing these things, you are likely earning a good salary in addition to positive reinforcement from bosses and supervisors who value you tremendously. All this makes it extremely difficult for such people to lay it aside for two years to go back to school.
One of the most common questions business schools ask applicants is, “Why is now the right time for you to go back to business school?”
Once you get it in your head to return for your MBA, it’s hard to shake it. In fact, MBA applicants usually apply during the very first application window after they first consider going back at all. One thing you should avoid doing, however, is thinking about getting your MBA as something you can either do right now, or never. The now or never approach is dangerous because it can trick you into returning to school before you are ready. Applying before you are ready means potentially settling either for a school which is not ideal for you, or perhaps stunting your post-MBA career trajectory (or both).
It takes discipline, discernment and maturity to objectively analyze the ideal time to go back to school.
It’s not a formula. While the typical applicant to MBA programs has five years of work experience, perhaps in your case, you are ready after only two or three years. Or maybe seven or eight years will position you with the best exposure and perspective to contribute well in the classroom and receive the same from your colleagues.
Experience is just one area you must analyze to determine MBA readiness. Another thing to look at is the number of supervisors, either past or present, who would be willing to thoughtfully advocate for your admission. Can’t come up with at least three or four? You may not yet be positioned for an ideal run at top schools.
Confidence can play into the mix as well
There’s nothing like the unique combination of humility and swagger which only comes from failing at something and then walking away worn but wiser. If you can clearly articulate why a particular failure has made you a better business person or just a better person, period, then you just might be ready to take the MBA plunge.