Four Mistakes to Avoid on Your Way to Business School

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If you’ve chosen to pursue a MBA degree, congratulations! You’re about to embark on a journey that will culminate in a career you’ll be proud of. Before you begin, remember to avoid the following pitfalls.

Not Having a Plan

A lot of information is available on earning a MBA in the form of articles by experts, like this one published at Forbes in which Shawn O’Connor offers 6 steps to take for a successful MBA application. Take some time to delve into the subject and understand what’s required each step of the way. Familiarize yourself with testing procedures, research recommended and required coursework, and get to know someone in your chosen field. No amount of research beats first-hand experience. Identify which field appeals most to you, and visit those places of business to get a feel for the daily experience.

Not Understanding Your Own Motivation

It’s important to formulate your plan according to your goals. You know what you want, but do you know why? Spend some time identifying what you want out of life in the long run, and what’s most important to you. Make a personal list of goals for your own records, both short and long-term. In her article Define Your MBA Goals Before Applying to Grad School, Stacy Blackman encourages you to have a better understanding of what you hope to accomplish with a MBA degree. Understand this before you start so that you can tailor your educational experience to the field you’re entering.

Not Aligning Your Interests

Take part in extracurricular activities that offer leadership opportunities. Not only will this look good on your résumé, you’re likely to meet people with similar goals and interests. By taking on leadership roles in your school or community, you gain experience that will help you mentally prepare for the career you’ve chosen.

Now is also a great time to get to know people who may be willing to offer a recommendation after they’ve gotten to know you and how you work. A part-time job after school and during summer months is an excellent opportunity to meet potential recommenders.

Not Keeping Your Goals in Mind

You know what you need to do, and why you want to do it. Now ask yourself how you’re going to accomplish the work ahead of you. Being academically and financially prepared will help ensure your success. While researching the testing and coursework costs and requirements, make a list of each step, each small goal that brings you closer to the big one. Arrange that list chronologically, along a time line, so that your finish line remains in sight. Keep the list handy, and refer to it often. Be sure to include your motivation, at least one long-term goal, at the end so that you’re always reminded of why you want that MBA in the first place.

Do the research and be prepared so that you can enjoy gaining your MBA. By understanding what’s required, what you want, and how to achieve it, you can worry less and enjoy the process.