9 Important Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an MBA | TopMBA.com

9 Important Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an MBA

By Stephanie L

Updated April 9, 2021 Updated April 9, 2021

Sponsored by IE Business School

Pursuing an MBA may seem like the obvious answer when it comes to boosting career progression, but that shouldn’t be the only reason to study an MBA. Making an informed and smart decision will ensure that an MBA is the right investment for you, not just on a career level but personal level as well.

Here are some questions you may not have considered before starting your MBA application journey.

Why do you want to do it and what are you hoping to gain? 

Having a good handle on what your future career goals are can help make the decision as to which MBA is best suited to your objectives and aspirations for the future much more straightforward.

Many working professionals take the step back into education for a number of reasons. Where some want to climb the career ladder they’re already on, others may want to branch out and start their own business venture.

It’s also good to consider what area of business you want to focus on. Do you want to perfect your general management skills or are you looking to develop and enhance your knowledge in a technical area of business such as operations strategy, finance or marketing?

The MBA experience should be challenging yet rewarding so ensuring the MBA program you choose to study matches your personal interests and career needs, you should get just that.

Is the timing right?

It’s important to think about where you are in your career – do you want to balance work with studying, or are you able to commit to full-time studies? 

From both a career and personal perspective, it’s important to think about the program format and length as well.

If you don’t want to or aren’t able to sacrifice your salary and are willing to balance studying alongside working, an online MBA such as IE Business School’s Global Online MBA which is ranked first worldwide in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2019 could be the ideal solution for you. Otherwise, depending on your level of experience you may want to consider an Executive MBA instead where most programs offer evening or weekend classes.

Am I comfortable with the idea of (potentially) relocating?

Sometimes the most ideal MBA program for you can be on the other side of the world. Should you be comfortable with the prospect of moving abroad to study in a new city, you’ll benefit from the international exposure on a personal level with your class colleagues, as well as a commercial level where you’ll tap in to new markets and business strategies.

IE Business School, for example, is located in Spain’s sunny capital city Madrid which is a renowned hub for international business opportunities.

What networking opportunities are there?

The opportunity to build your network is just as important as the MBA itself. Whether you study online or full-time, all good MBA programs allow you to interact closely with your cohort as well as with professors and tutors. Doing so allows you to build an extensive network of professional contacts where exciting opportunities may arise later down the line.

Be sure to check out the business school’s alumni network as well and see what opportunities are available should you join the ranks once you graduate.

What is the reputation of the MBA and business school like?

You want to ensure you’re getting the best business degree you can get, so make sure you do your research first. One easy way of finding out whether you’re set for a top-class education is checking whether the program is accredited.

This is a word that’s thrown around a lot, but it can give you a quick and impressionable snippet into the particular business school you’re looking at. In fact, less than one percent of the world’s business schools boast Triple Crown accreditation, and IE Business School is one of these.

What’s the teaching style like?

This is very much subjective and dependent on your own professional identity. Do you prefer working alone or in a group? Do you enjoy giving presentations? How about learning in a big class as opposed to a small class? Would you prefer your lecturers and tutors to have academic experience over professional experience or vice versa?

Taking the time to research which program is right for you and using websites such as TopMBA.com as well as the business school websites themselves can be a great source of information.

In addition, many business schools run their own open day events or are part of third-party fairs and tours around the world which allow prospective students the opportunity to meet and speak with professors, current students as well as alumni, and ask any questions that can’t be found elsewhere.

Am I ready to invest the money?

It can take months, even years, to finance an MBA. Researching what finance options are available, such as dedicated postgraduate scholarships and loans can help establish exactly what is a viable option for you when it comes to pursuing an MBA. Students will usually combine scholarships and loans in order to fund their MBA although some may be fortunate to have their MBA sponsored or part-sponsored by their employer.

What is the return on investment (ROI) like?

You’ll want to know whether your MBA will provide you with a strong ROI once you get back into the world of employment. Career advancement and financial stability are the most sought-after goals with an MBA.

Many business schools publish graduate employability reports outlining the latest statistics on the most recent students who’ve graduated which can be a good indicator of what the MBA can do for you.

How do I prepare for the GMAT and admissions process?

Finally, once you’ve decided you’re ready for the MBA, the admissions process is going to be the next hurdle. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as others make it out to be as long as you’re organized and know what’s expected.

The General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a standardized entry test that assesses candidates on their quantitative and qualitative competence. Business schools such as IE Business School offer candidates the opportunity to access a free GMAT simulation test to help prepare them for the real GMAT.

IE Business School

IE School of Global and Public Affairs

IE School of Human Sciences and Technology

IE Law School

IE School of Architecture

This article was originally published in October 2019 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopMBA.com and TopUniversities.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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