Thanks for all of your support for last week’s posts, lovelies! I so enjoyed reading each and every email, comment, and DM – it so makes my day to know my posts are answering all of your questions and that y’all appreciate my posts.
As most of you know, I just finished my first year of my MBA program here in Dallas. I spent months deliberating between the various MBA programs. Looking back now, I have zero doubt that I made absolutely the right decision for me. So it’s about time I shared how I came to that decision.
What I’m Wearing:
Top: Soprano, old (similar, similar) / Skirt: Ann Taylor / Shoes: similar
Purse: Sole Society / Ring: Treasure & Bond, sold out (similar) / Earrings: identical pair here
Figuring out how to choose the right MBA program for you should really start with deciding whether or not business school is even the right decision for you. Business school should be treated as a career reset. An MBA is useful to get to the next level of your career or to completely switch from one career path to another. The latter is what I was hoping to do.
Before business school, I was working in enterprise software sales in the oil and gas industry. Though I enjoyed sales, I knew I wanted to switch to a different industry… or even to a different type of client-facing role. Which is what brought me to consulting. But that didn’t happen till much later.
Decide on a Region
My first decision (after whittling down the list based on costs and other extraneous factors) I made on the road to choosing which MBA program was right for me was the location. Or rather, the region. Yes, before I even thought about my concentration or what industry I wanted to work in after grad school, I chose where I wanted to look.
After three years in Dallas, I knew I wanted to either be in Dallas or Austin for business school or at a business school with great placement in one of those two cities. So then I started researching which programs had the best placement in Dallas and Austin. And came up with a list of about 30 schools.
Which then brought me to the ever-important question: what exactly did I want to do?
Choose an Industry
When I was deciding where to go to school, I was a little up in the air as to in which industry I wanted to work. I knew I wanted to work with technology, but did I want to work for a startup or for a well-established company? Software or hardware? Sales? Marketing? Consulting?
Narrowing down the industry really didn’t help me much… especially since I didn’t actually choose an industry until after I started the program.
One thing that did help was the fact that I knew that I didn’t want to study or work in finance. Nothing against finance – I’ve actually always really enjoyed my finance classes. I just knew I wanted something more client-facing.
So I did some research and talked to my friends who had gone to business school about their experiences. Was their school really finance-heavy? How did people who didn’t want to do finance fare post-business school?
One of the programs I was considering was heavily into finance. I spoke with one of my friends who had attended this school about his thoughts on the program. He didn’t go into finance after graduating, so I picked his brain about how the school had supported him in his quest to find a job. Turns out, they offered very little support to anybody who wasn’t pursuing a career in finance.
That made that decision very easy.
Decide on a Field of Study
Deciding on a field of study for my MBA was by far the last decision I made. And I say this knowing full well that I could switch concentrations at any moment, even now.
BUT if you want a program with a really strong business analytics program, that can help you narrow down your list of applications. Or if you know you want to do CPG marketing, pursuing a program that has a strong marketing program and good relationships with CPG companies would be a pretty freakin’ wise thing to do.
If you have any further questions about choosing the right MBA program for you or even questions about my thoughts on being an MBA student, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help anybody else who finds themselves in the predicament I was in only a year ago!