Scott Edinburgh
May 26, 2023

Signs It Might Be Time for an MBA

This week, Personal MBA Coach moderated a panel with Admissions Directors from Chicago Booth, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden, INSEAD and CMU Tepper on the right time to pursue an MBA.

As the 2023-2024 MBA application season kicks off (Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB and Columbia Business School have announced their MBA application essays for 2023-2034 MBA applicants, and other schools will soon follow), you may find yourself contemplating whether now is a good time for you to pursue an MBA.

Right now there is an additional—and greatly compelling—reason to take this courageous step: a recession is still likely looming. According to the meeting minutes released from the May 2023 Fed meeting, a recession is still predicted for later this year.

While recession forecasting is not exactly down pat, potential MBA applicants can take steps to capitalize on the possibly transformative, life-changing opportunities provided by a looming recession. While a recession can be dangerous, it can also be accompanied by great opportunity: opportunity to reinvigorate one’s life with a transformative educational experience to match the opening doors post-recession. When the job market starts to bubble again, compared to others who have been sitting home watching Netflix or self-doubting, you will have improved yourself through a new degree, you will have new skills and interests, and you may even be prepared to launch into a new, burgeoning field. Considering a career change? Check out 6 Tips for Career Changers.

Still, you may be wondering if this is the best time for YOU to pursue an MBA.

If one or more of the following rings true for you, now may very well be the time to start developing your MBA Application Plan!

1. You already have 4-5 years of pre-MBA experience:

The average applicant for most schools has approximately 5 years of pre-MBA experience. Once you have 6+ years, your chances of acceptance begin to decrease slightly each year. Similarly, your odds of acceptance do not increase considerably between 4 and 5 years unless your role significantly changes. You should also consider the possibility that you may not be accepted the first time you apply. The longer you wait now, the more likely that you will run out of time to give your dream school one more shot by reapplying. At this stage in your career, there are few compelling reasons to wait. So, consider shooting for the stars now and applying to your first-choice schools for round 1.

2. You have reached a plateau at work:

Have you stretched yourself as much as possible in your current role? Are you bored at work and feel that you have learned all you can in your current role? MBAs open entirely new horizons through coursework, interactions with peers, new experiences and networks. If you feel you are close to plateauing, now might be the time to apply.

3. You are ready to switch careers:

Switching careers while writing your business school applications can be tricky. While it works for some to change industries or functions pre-MBA, for most people post-MBA is a better time to switch careers. But if you know you want to move from banking to consulting or consulting to product management, why wait? In many ways the MBA is the great equalizer and post-MBA students often start at a similar level to each other. If this is you, think about applying today.

4. You are worried about your job security:

As layoffs continue in the tech space, consulting firms push back start dates and concerns loom about the debt ceiling, regardless of whether we enter a recession, you may be worried about your own job security. Business School can be a great place to ride out a shaky economy.

5. Your personal situation favors the MBA choice:

Do you want a break from work? Is your partner going back to school and it will be easier to study together? Going back to school full time is a major lifestyle change, and your personal circumstance should be a key factor in your decision on when to apply. If your circumstances feel right, consider it fortuitous.

If some or all of the above situations apply to you, now is the perfect time to get started on your MBA application. Ready to dive in? Schedule a consultation today to find out how Personal MBA Coach can guide you on the path to your dream school!

Watch this short testimonial to find out how Personal MBA Coach helped this client from a consulting background get into Wharton.

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