Do you even know what an MBA is?

Seems like a silly question, right?

After all, who would be starting this whole rigamarole process of GMAT and applications if they didn’t know what they were aiming for?

You’d be surprised.

Not only is the MBA a quantitative-focused degree – thus, the emphasis on quant in the GMAT – but it’s also, uh, GRADUATE SCHOOL. Which means, by definition, ADVANCED. Or at least, more advanced than college.

(BTW, little EssaySnark pet peeve here: When you’re getting an MBA, you’re not going to “college” – and thus when you’re selecting your schools, that’s not what you’re picking. Bschool is a university-level thing – grad school, if we want to be literal. This may be just our own idiosyncrasy but it bugs us when people ask us to help them choose some “colleges” to apply to.)

OK. Back to the MBA. And a challenge:

Can you sit here right now and name at least 5 of the first-year courses you’ll be taking in bschool?

OK, how about 3?


This video is from UC Berkeley Haas – it’s actually from the undergraduate program – but they teach those kids a lot of the same stuff when they’re earning their business degrees as you’ll have to learn in the MBA. Here’s is where they talk to those kids about whether the business major is right for them. Check it out:

The list of classes on that slide that says Curriculum is pretty standard for what the core courses are in most MBA programs. And her comments about it are spot on. If you look at that list and grimace, then are you sure you want to get an MBA?

The MBA is about a helluva lot more than microeconomics and finance. But if those things don’t float your boat, at least a little bit, you’re likely in for a world of hurt if you manage to get yourself admitted.

So not only should you do a reality check on whether this little MBA idea is right for you, in terms of what you will actually be learning and your interest levels (note: this is typically best vetted by figuring out what you want to do with yourself post-MBA, and mapping backwards) but you should also make sure that you’re right for it.

If you have struggled mightily on the GMAT, then you need to be seriously prepared for some challenges in the classroom in your first term. The reason for the GMAT nastiness is to make sure you’ve got the chops to handle the curriculum.

And the reason for the career goals essays that most schools require is to make sure that the MBA is even the right path-forward.

This whole process is about self-reflection and some validation. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you go too far down the path. Sometimes people get Shiny Object Syndrome and get enamored of the idea of the MBA, without thinking it through. Give it some thought. Check out what’s involved. Put forth some effort to vet this opportunity, and consider if it’s really right for you.

If not, there’s lots of other amazing opportunities out there that can change your life and bring you fulfillment. It’s not all about these three silly little letters.

If it is, godspeed and good luck to you! We’ll be here if you need help along the way.

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