To MBA or not to MBA ?

Pre-MBA Self-Assessment Checklist

If you agree with each of the following statements, you are ready to begin the process of obtaining an MBA.

1.  I have identified the following:

the management field/job function that interests me
the industry that interests me
the location where I would like to be
2.  I can explain the reasons I believe an MBA will help me achieve my goals with regard to my:

targeted industry and job function
natural strengths and weaknesses
3.  I can articulate the strengths (academic, personal, and professional) that have helped me to be successful and/or that my colleagues have praised.

4. I can articulate the weaknesses that have hindered my performance or created obstacles.

5.  I am clear about the personal factors I must consider (family, lifestyle, financial, etc.) in making my decision.

6.  I know how I would have to modify my career goals if I do not obtain an MBA.

7. I know which of the following elements are important to me in choosing an MBA program:

– not being required to relocate
– career/placement services
– being able to continue working full time
– a full-time, full immersion experience (not working full time)
– being able to pursue an MBA work internship
– being able to declare a concentration of electives in my field
– cross-cultural experiences, not just academic ones
– a general management “core” foundation in accounting, finance, human resources,  – information technology, marketing, operations, and strategy
– If you have any trouble responding to the statements above, try answering the following questions to help focus your thinking. Affirmative responses indicate readiness for the MBA.

– Can you define who you are in terms of what is important to you? Do you know what kind of lifestyle you desire? Can you define job satisfaction?
– Do you know what level of security/income is important? Is there something else you need? Do you know how your priorities affect one another?
– Do you feel strongly about some function and/or industry within business? Can you explain why? Do you know which MBA fields, or at least functional areas, are most appealing to you? (You do not need to know with 100 percent conviction which job you want, but you must have a direction before starting an MBA program.)
– Do you have natural aptitudes that others notice? Are there any particular MBA vocations to which those skills lend themselves?
– Do you have evidence (for example, from people in your chosen field) that the MBA is a logical next step for you? Is an MBA the preferred path to help you get where you want to go? Have you networked sufficiently with hiring authorities and professionals to know this?
– Do you know what particular biases exist in your proposed job market (for example, whether your targeted industry or company seems to value certain types of degree programs over others)?
– Do you know how your options would be different without an MBA? Can you still get into your chosen field without the degree through other training or experience?
– Beyond the MBA, do you know what additional resources (training, experience, finances, etc.) you may need to achieve your long-term plans?

– Can you identify any gaps in your background, experience, or training (other than the lack of an MBA) that could stop you from achieving your goals?
– Are you ready to be a student again for up to two years? Do you have the discipline and drive?
– Do you have or know how to acquire the financial resources to go to school full-time? Part-time?

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