As the new year begins, it is common for people to step back and think about their long term goals, and whether or not they are on track to make their career dreams a reality. For many, questions of how to work their way into better or more fulfilling jobs ultimately lead to questions about whether or not it’s time to go back to school.

As traditional career paths change, it has become normal for people to return to university to upgrade their skills and get the credentials they need to move forward. This often means deciding to pursue an MBA.

The MBA degree is designed for those who already have some experience in the workplace, but who want to solidify their understanding of modern business. Many MBA graduates go on to found their own companies, or move into upper management at the companies where they already work.

If you are thinking about going back to school and want to know how you can get started on your MBA application, here are a few helpful tips.

  1. Do Your Research

The most important part of the application process is probably the very beginning: selecting which schools you intend on applying to. As the MBA has grown in popularity, becoming one of the most internationally recognized graduate degrees in the world, many universities have opted to open their own MBA programs.

While the options can seem overwhelming, it is important to narrow down the number of schools and focus on tailoring your resume and application to three or four potential options you are confident will be able to provide you with the instruction, support, and contacts that will help you get the most out of your MBA.

  1. Study for the GMAT

This may seem obvious, but it really is important that you prepare yourself to do well on the GMAT test, and there’s no way to do this except to study, study, study.

  1. Full-time or Part-time?

While most MBA programs offer the option of full-time study, this is by no means the only route to getting your MBA degree. Universities like Wilfrid Laurier in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, offer plenty of options for students who want to study on evenings or weekends while continuing to work in the high-powered industry hub of Toronto.

You can learn more at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics about which full-time and part-time options are right for you.

  1. Fill Out Your Application

Once you know which program you want to apply to and you’ve worked out whether or not you’ll be going through the full-time or part-time stream, you can start to fill out the application itself.

Unlike many post-undergraduate degree applications, the MBA application favours those who have spent time in the workforce gaining valuable skills and knowledge. Be sure to use your resume to highlight how your working experience makes you a good candidate for the degree program.

  1. Talk to Your References Beforehand

References are a great opportunity for you to reinforce the information you’ve supplied on the rest of your application. It is a good idea to check in with your reference about other aspects of your application, such as your resume, so they know what kind of a letter you are looking for.

An MBA can be an absolutely life-changing experience. If you feel that it is time you went back to school to beef up your credentials and move your career forward, make sure to start your application in advance by doing your research, preparing for the GMAT, considering full-time and part-time options, and securing good references.

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