If you’re currently in the pre-MBA program stage, getting into your program of choice will not be the hardest part of your journey. The hard part comes once you’re enrolled and you’re working to stay on top of your coursework, your job, and your personal obligations all at once. Having a pre-MBA game plan is essential to avoiding becoming overwhelmed once you’ve been accepted and are in the thick of it.
Consider a Pre-MBA Networking Program
Even if your specific program does not offer a pre-enrollment or pre-term orientation, there are plenty of programs, mixers, meet-and-greets, and boot camps to consider. Large companies often host mixers to meet with admitted MBA students before they start the program in order to meet talent early on in the career process. If you’re still a little while away from applying, consider the variety of options available to help prepare you for MBA studies. For instance, nonprofit Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) provides a 12-month pre-MBA mentorship program for minority candidates interested in getting a headstart on their MBA planning.1
Refine Your Vision
Once you start your MBA program, you’re going to be very busy and the time is going to go by fast. Take the time before you begin your studies to revisit all of the reasons you applied in the first place and recommit yourself to this next phase of your career. Pursuing an MBA is about more than just completing your coursework. Take ownership of this next chapter, take the time to reflect, and create a vision of how your innate skills and passions will combine with your new knowledge to move your career forward.2
Hone Your Skills
If you come from a business background, you may already be familiar with the intricacies of accounting or the principles of management. If you come from a more general, liberal arts background, it might be worth investing in some pre-MBA program courses at a community college or online to help ground you in the fundamentals of accounting, management, finance, or economics. This will help you avoid the feeling that you are already playing catch-up when you dig into case studies.3
Update Your Profiles
It will pay dividends if you prepare to be recruited now, before you add even more to your to-do list. Your network is about to grow, so make sure your social media networks present you with some professional polish so you can connect right away and won’t have to waste time untagging pictures and adding professional credits when you meet a new contact. Update your resume and take the time to make sure your LinkedIn page is irresistible.4
Tend to Your Network
As the saying goes, make new friends but keep the old. Reach out to your favorite professors from undergraduate school and let them know about your business school plans. Touch base with the managers and colleagues who have made an impact on your life and career and be sure to take the time to enrich those relationships. No matter how much your network grows, don’t forget to remember the people who have helped get you this far.
If it has been a while since you did any heavy reading, use this pre-MBA time to ramp up. You will be reading a lot in your studies, so anything you can do to get yourself on track will help. Worried about your busy schedule? Leverage audiobooks and executive summaries to make sure you can expose yourself to new insights, no matter how busy you get.5
Plan for the Grind
You might have a solid vision for your one- or five-year-plan, but don’t forget the importance of day-to-day planning. You will need to make time for work and study, but you’ll also need time for personal obligations and necessities like eating and sleeping. If you have a family, you’ll also need to carve out time for kids and partners. Use the pre-MBA program time to get into a rhythm that leaves adequate time to get everything done without burning out.6
Last, but certainly not least, take some time to relax. If you have the time, consider a vacation or other activities that help you unwind and de-stress. Read for pleasure and don’t neglect the people you love. Taking time to clear your mind now will pay off once the going gets tough.
Interested in an MBA Program? Check Out CSUMB
At CSUMB, our Online MBA program welcomes students with diverse strengths and backgrounds, and our program focuses on responsible business practices. We look for applicants whose affinity for learning will make them assets in their classes. With three starts per year, you can submit your application at virtually any time, so you can apply whenever you’ve got your pre-MBA plan in place.
An MBA is an investment in yourself, and the above advice will help you make the most of your time and this life-changing experience. If you have any questions at all about the admissions process or application itself, reach out to our Admissions Advisors at 844-302-1424.
1. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from ml4t.org/mba-professional-development-programs/
2. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from forbes.com/sites/mattsymonds/2013/05/29/heading-to-business-school-an-essential-pre-mba-strategy-to-hit-the-ground-running
3. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from usnews.com/education/blogs/mba-admissions-strictly-business/articles/2016-08-12/5-ways-to-prepare-for-the-1st-year-of-business-school
4. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from beatthegmat.com/mba/2017/03/03/8-simple-ways-to-spend-your-summer-before-your-mba
5. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/03/ten-things-you-need-to-know-before-you-start-your-mba/
6. Retrieved on April 19, 2019, from find-mba.com/articles/six-ways-to-use-the-summer-to-prepare-for-your-mba