When is the best time to start thinking about an MBA? | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

When is the best time to start thinking about an MBA?


MBA programmes are sought-after milestones in business careers. Even though every great business leader does not do one, many consider it at some point. However, doing an MBA is not something that one quickly decides. It is also not something that one can apply for without planning. Indeed, meeting the criteria and putting together a strong application form is a lengthy process that requires a fair amount of preparatory thinking.

What is the right MBA for you?
Request free help

In this article, EDUopinions presents key components that you must identify in each programme that interests you. Then, you will be ready to carefully plan the entire application process.

When should you start preparing for an MBA?

There are several things that you need to take into account to answer this question:

  • Application requirements (GMAT, English-proficiency, essays)
  • Work experience
  • Deadlines

Calendar with schedule

Business schools usually require applicants to present GMAT scores. Students prepare for this mathematics test for several months before taking it. The universities also indicate scores that they are expecting from applicants. This is mostly true for top-MBA universities, which require higher GMAT cores. Hence, it is common for people to re-take the test several times until they get the desired grade (learn how to re-schedule your GMAT).

The majority of MBAs are taught in English. Hence, applicants must show proof of English proficiency, usually with the IELTS or the TOEFL.

The point of an MBA is to provide you with excellent skills in finance, leadership, analytics, and several other business fields. Therefore, it tends to accept people who already have work experience so that their learning builds onto a professional basis rather than an academic basis. In addition, when 50 students with 2 to 5 years of work experience share a classroom, they find themselves with a group that has several decades of combined work experience. This makes the programme much richer as each student will share with and learn from others.

Finally, some schools have earlier deadlines than others. Check on their website to be sure not to miss them!

How long does an MBA application take?

You should bear in mind that you will rarely apply for one single programme. So, applying for an MBA actually means filling out several application forms. You should present a good CV, good references, but most importantly, a strong application essay. Yet, that cannot be done overnight. Indeed, writing a strong essay will take you several hours which we advise you to spread over several days/weeks. By doing this, you give yourself enough time to:

  • work without stressing,
  • write the first version, put it aside for a few days and then come back to it for improvements (do that several times if possible),
  • have friends, family and teachers review your essay>

This should take you a few hours a week for 1 to 4 months, depending on how many MBAs you are applying for. In your planning, you should also add the hours spent studying for the GMAT. According to the QS Top MBA platform, studying for the GMAT takes about 100 days with additional time if you want to be able to re-schedule the test or follow preparatory courses. Here are some tips to prepare for the GMAT.

What does an MBA imply financially?

Moneybox with a key

When we talk about MBAs, we are inevitably talking about money. First and foremost, MBAs are infamously expensive. Programmes at top universities can cost more than 100,000 USD. Additionally, many MBAs require you to put your career on hold, hence giving up on having a stable revenue during your studies. In fact, this has lead to one of the main criticism of MBAs: they perpetuate social inequality by being very elitist because only wealthy or indebted students can follow them. However, more scholarships are becoming accessible and alternatives to MBAs are being developed.

On a much more positive note, MBAs are known for dramatically increasing the salary of graduates. Even though Investopedia estimated that the return on investment of MBAs is decreasing, following such a programme at a top business school increase your salary by almost 100%. According to US News, in 2020 the average salary (with bonuses) of MBA graduates in the US was 101,034USD. This goes up to 172,265USD when looking at graduates from the 10 best MBA programmes.

In conclusion, when should you start thinking about your MBA?

Ultimately, it all depends on you, your professional experience, your mathematical knowledge (GMAT), your English proficiency and your goals. Nevertheless, the takeaway of this article is that you need to identify your preferred MBAs several months before the deadline. Only by doing this will you have the time to meet all the requirements, get the right GMAT scores and nail your application form! We wish you good luck and do not hesitate to reach out to us. We can help you to identify the right MBA for you.

We can help you find the best MBA
Talk with the experts
Featured Content
Written by
Zohar Fiszman is a senior student at University College Utrecht, where he studies politics, psychology and crime. Born and raised in Belgium, his international education paths has fostered the desire to empower high-quality educational opportunities.

Recent Posts

Get our experts advice for free.
Contact us.
This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Review our Privacy Policy for more details.