Ahembeea, author of the MBA Beckons blog, writes in"Lessons From My Journey," the lessons he has learned while applying to several top business schools and ultimately gaining acceptance to Emory's Goizueta Business School with a full tuition scholarship. Congratulations!
Although the entire post is worthwhile, I want to highlight Ahembeea's #1 lesson, "I want to do an MBA. Full stop." At the beginning of his MBA application process and school research he writes, "I had a burning desire for an MBA for years before I started looking at schools abroad last year. Like it usually happens, there was no structure to that desire. The motivation had always been extremely strong, but all I knew was that I HAD to do an MBA come what may. "
Ahembeea's takeway today:
Lesson # 1 - A larger part of the time I spent researching B Schools after my GMAT should have been spent on first answering the basic questions. I should have been clearer from the beginning, and not now when the game is almost up.
The key basic question: "What do you want to do after your MBA?" As many of you know, I have responded to thousands of MBA admissions questions on the Internet -- going back to AOL and Compuserve in the 1990's. For years my practice has been not to recommend schools without knowing the applicant's post-MBA goal.
Like Ahembeea today, I don't see how you can intelligently choose your target programs without knowing your post-MBA goals. Choosing your target programs without knowing why you want an MBA, what you to to extract from your the experience, or what you want to do after your MBA is akin to aiming darts at a US News or BusinessWeek list of business schools and applying to the ones pierced by the darts. The MBA experience is too expensive and has the potential to be such a growth experience that you should do your basic research ahead of time so that you can apply to and ultimately attend the schools that really are best for you.
Yes, your qualifications are a critical element in determining where to apply. However, frequently so much emphasis is placed on what you need to get into a top MBA program, that what you want to get out of the MBA is given short shrift. Spend time now clarifying your reasons for wanting to pursue an MBA. An incoherent, amorphous, burning desire to earn an MBA is insufficient. A honed, researched, thoughtful basis for you application decision will help you in admissions and also in your job search. (Please listen to MBA Podcaster's "Landing Your Ideal Summer Internship: The First Step in a Successful Post-MBA Career," specifically Ross's Al Cotrone's comments for further thoughts on this point.)
I recommend "Lessons From My Journey."