Once you’ve answered the question, “Why do you want an MBA?” you’ll likely be faced with a follow-up question: “Why now?”
I assume that you already know why you want an MBA. (If you don’t, see last week’s tip, “Three Essential Keys To The Goals Essay.”)
Consider the following when you respond to “Why now”:
- Do you have the work experience to apply now? Establish how many years and what kind of work experience your target program prefers. Then determine if the quality and quantity of your work experience is comparable. If your experience is not comparable, then you need to consider a different program or push off applying for another year (or more).
- Does your target program support your post-MBA goals? If your future goals are still muddled, then you may want to spend another year clarifying what you really want to do before quitting your current job and diving into an MBA program.
- Are you stagnating in your current position? If your career progression has plateaued, then now can be a good time to earn an MBA. If you’re still at the bottom of the learning curve, however, and you’re looking forward to growth, increased responsibilities, and promotions, then you may want to hold off.
- Do you need an MBA to make your next professional move?
If you answered “yes” to the questions above, and have good reasons for those “yeses,” then you have the material to respond persuasively to the “Why now?” questions both in your essays and interviews.
Your actual response will probably focus on #3 & #4, and be positive. Don’t complain about your job or belittle your work. Focus on your plans for the future. Show that given your past work experience, when you learned a lot, and your future goal, which requires the skills and benefits of an MBA from Top Choice Bschool, now is the time for you to exchange your professional briefcase for an MBA student’s backpack.
By Linda Abraham, CEO and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the soon-to released book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools. Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.
Our Series On Perfecting Your MBA Essays:
Why Get an MBA Now?
In the next few months we’ll be addressing major application essay topics that, as an MBA applicant to a top business school, you’ll likely encounter. These posts will help you write essays asking the classic “Why get an MBA now?” question (that will be the topic of this post), approach creative/off-beat essays, respond to the criticism essay question, and answer the “weakness” essay. We will also provide tips on the goals essay, the leadership essay, and the reapplicant essay. Check back with us every week to stay up-to-date on our more current MBA essay tips!
The question, “Why do you want to get an MBA now?” generally follows the question “Why do you want to get an MBA?” and you usually can’t answer one without the other. After all, if you don’t know why you want to go to b-school, then you certainly won’t be able to answer the when question. The rest of this post assumes you have nailed the “why.”
Before you draft an answer to this question, you’ll need to do some solid introspection on your own. Use the questions below to guide you in determining whether you should apply to business school this coming fall.
- Is the quality and quantity of your work experience comparable to that of accepted applicants to your target program? Check the recent class profile for this information. If it’s far from the mean, either quantitatively or qualitatively, consider a different program or a different time.
- Has your career progression plateaued? Is your learning curve looking like the US growth rate for the last two years? If so, you have an indication that now is a good time to obtain an MBA. Alternatively, if you are looking forward to growth, promotion, leadership, and increased responsibility, you might be wiser to wait.
- Do you have a solid post-MBA goal? (Hating your current job doesn’t cut it.) If you don’t, it’s not the right time to pursue an MBA. If you do have clear direction and purpose, then you have another indication that now is the time for your MBA.
- Are personal factors — significant other, family needs, health factors, finances — supportive of an MBA now?
Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, then you’ll have an easier time putting your thoughts into words. The adcoms will be scouring your essay for hints of your maturity and focus, as well as a sense of purpose. Let your readers know that you are prime b-school material, and that your MBA dreams can’t be put on hold for another moment. Now is the time.
|Linda is the Founder of Accepted.com. Click here to learn more about Accepted.com's products and services.|