I decided it was time to pursue my Masters in Business Administration or MBA. The first step was to define what I was looking for in a program.
MBA Program Requirements
- AACSB – Most people consider this a requirement for serious MBA programs.
- Online – I wanted a program that is 100% online, because I have a wife, kids, a full time job, this blog and several other responsibilities. I also prefer to interact with groups online. Some research even says online MBAs are better than in person ones.
- Affordable – My employer is generous, but I don’t have unlimited funds. I didn’t want to chose a school that would be over priced.
- Good Reputation – It doesn’t make sense to spend two to four years pursuing a degree that wont hold value when you graduate.
- GMAT/GRE – My funds are tied to the calendar year so if I have to study for either test, I will probably miss out on this years funds. I also have fifteen years or experience, published a book and worked in two Director roles. I think I have a substantial body of work to prove my worth as a prospective candidate.
- Rolling Admission – I want to get into a program that has rolling admission. Rolling admission means you can start at any time. The downside of rolling admissions is you might not form strong relationships with classmates, because you won’t continue through the program with the same people. I am hoping to build some relationships that last beyond the classes so I will have to make an extra effort to build those relationships.
My first step was to review over forty schools recommended by my employer’s website. I went to each one’s website to get an idea whether my requirements were realistic and what to expect to pay. These websites gave me a good idea of the competitive field. As I looked through my options a few met my requirements. The problem I had was how to gauge the reputation of each one. I did some research with google and found the US News and World Reports rankings for online MBAs. Another highly respected source for researching MBA programs is geteducated.com. After reviewing how each school measured up, I decided to apply to a couple of schools that met my requirements and ranked well on US News.
I was pretty nervous about applying, particularly since my GPA wasn’t that good in college. However, I do have a good resume now and a good set of accomplishments. I called the schools and found out how to apply. I called the two schools I was interested in and they both expressed interest in recruiting me into the program. The application process was much less painful than I expected.
- Application Form – The two I filled out were not very painful. They took ten to fifteen minutes to fill out.
- Transcript – Every school will ask for your transcript. You need to provide the transcript as proof of your degree and GPA in your bachelors. If a college doesn’t ask for a transcript, I would be very suspicious of the quality of the program.
- GMAT or GRE – Some schools require them, some don’t and some will allow them to be waived.
- References – I am not a fan of references. Any time I am asked for references. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode about Vandelay industries.
If you are looking into an MBA program, feel free to share your experience. Good Luck!