This week we are turning the camera (so to speak) on Scott Edinburgh, Personal MBA Coach founder. Get Scott’s insight on the value of an MBA, the main challenges MBA candidates face, the right time to apply and more!
Question: Based on Your Experience and Expertise, What Is the Value of Pursuing an MBA?
There are countless benefits of earning an MBA. The most obvious, of course, is the technical knowledge you will gain. In addition to traditional courses in fields such as finance, accounting and marketing, nearly all MBA programs offer specialized courses covering a variety of industries and functional areas. Whether you are planning to go into finance, real estate, marketing or healthcare, you will have the chance to learn the fundamentals from industry experts.
Equally as important as these technical skills are the “soft” skills you can gain during an MBA. Both inside and outside of the classroom, MBA programs emphasize skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication, all crucial skills for future leaders. In addition, the countless volunteer and travel programs offer students further opportunities to stretch themselves personally and professionally.
The business school classroom also provides students the chance to take risks in an open and trusting environment. Often students enter business school with one goal, but they use this unique and safe environment to try classes or programs in other fields. In many cases, this leads students down an unexpected path as they find a field that is a better fit.
Finally, business schools provide students with great networking opportunities, both while on campus and beyond. In addition to learning from classroom peers, students find alumni to be invaluable resources as they seek their first post-MBA jobs. Alumni not only can provide crucial insider knowledge, but they also often help fellow alums secure roles in their companies. MBA graduates will then continue to rely upon this network throughout their careers for partners, mentors or even investors.
If you have a unique situation and are wondering whether an MBA is right for you, we encourage you to reach out to current students with a background similar to yours. Find out more about the best ways to engage with students in this quick tips video:
Question: Is Applying During a Weaker Job Market a Good Idea?
Yes! While the prospect of investing in your education amid announcement of hiring delays and layoffs can be scary, 2023 is actually a great time to apply for an MBA. There are signs that a recession is looming, confirmed in the meeting minutes released from the May 2023 Federal Reserve meeting. Business school can be a great place to ride out a recession. Plus, an MBA will benefit you in both a strong and weak market. In fact, I personally rode out the 2008-2010 recession while at Wharton.
For those who are worried about job prospects upon graduation, admissions directors shared during the 2023 AIGAC Conference last month how MBA recruiting remains strong and, even in the tech sector, graduates from top MBA programs fared well.
Plus, many Personal MBA Coach clients receive scholarships to partially or fully offset the cost of an MBA. Last year, our clients earned over $10M in scholarships.
If you are considering an MBA in the near future, now would be a great time to take the leap.
Question: What Was the Greatest Impact Attending Wharton Had on Your Professional and Personal Life?
Naturally, given my line of work, my MBA experience changed my career. While I started my post-MBA career in a more traditional strategy role, the MBA was so transformational for me that while I was in school, I began helping my friends with their applications so they, too, could have this valuable opportunity. Sixteen years later, helping others enjoy the transformative experience of the MBA has become my life’s passion.
Tactically, at Wharton I learned to think more strategically and to develop stronger presentations. I also expanded my negotiation and decision-making skills and became an overall better leader. Leadership is tough and while I am still learning, a lot of the skills that have helped me succeed today, I developed at Wharton.
Personally, I now have friends (even very close friends) from around the world. While you meet a lot of people and develop great friends as an undergraduate, everyone is still somewhat immature. Business school is a great time to develop lasting relationships. I still cherish and leverage these relationships today, using many of my peers as sounding boards, both personally and professionally. The opportunity to attend global weddings is not a bad perk, either.
Question: What Is the Main Challenge That MBA Candidates Face in Getting Accepted to Their Target MBA Programs?
The main challenge that Personal MBA Coach and our team help clients tackle is figuring out how to truly tell their stories. Developing the personal story may be the hardest and the most important part of the application. This story should be compelling and somewhat unique (more on this in our Articulating Your Personal Story blog). MBA admissions directors see countless similar profiles each year, particularly for students who work in overrepresented industries or who come from overrepresented demographics. Personal MBA Coach helps candidates to stand out and clearly articulate the value they will add on campus. For instance, if you are applying from a consulting background, it may be difficult to differentiate yourself in the pool of applicants. Check out this quick tips video on how you can do it:
We advise candidates to start this process months, if not years, in advance to develop a story that is focused, logical and unique. When I meet with a new candidate, I start by asking a lot of questions. We talk about everything the applicant has done, often starting from childhood. I advise you to start with a similar process.
Make a list of everything you have done in your life and take the time to write it all down. Think carefully about the decisions you have made, activities you enjoy and, most importantly, why you made those choices. Think about your future goals. What do you want to do after you earn your MBA and, again, why? Next, look for a theme! What single idea ties all this together? This is the hard part, so give it time. If you find yourself struggling, reach out today for a consultation to find out how we can help with our Comprehensive Packages.
Question: What Is the Profile of an MBA Candidate?
There is no one profile of an MBA candidate. Each year we work with more “typical” candidates, including management consultants, investment bankers and private equity professionals. We also help many clients coming from and/or returning to family businesses. However, we also work with clients who are opera singers, musicians, nonprofit leaders, teachers, marketing professionals, restaurateurs, physicians, family business professionals — the list goes on. Strong business and leadership skills can be an asset in any industry as supported by the diversity of MBA applicants.
Question: After Completing the MBA, What Comes Next?
That answer is up to the applicant. The fields that MBA graduates enter are as diverse as the fields they worked in prior to business school. In certain careers MBA graduates feed into common roles – for example, consulting firms start MBA graduates in a “class” of their peers. Other firms provide leadership development programs for recent graduates. In general, however, there are countless roles a graduate can fill. MBA programs dedicate an entire career services department to helping graduates reap the benefits of an MBA and find their ideal jobs.
Feel inspired to start working on your MBA application? Schedule your consultation with Personal MBA Coach today and learn how we can help you maximize your chances of getting into your dream business school!