Taking the Plunge: An MBA Applicant Roadmap

October 25. 2013
by Michelle Nguyen

You want to be the boss.  You’ve woken up one morning and decided that you’ve had enough of the tasks; you want to define the bigger picture.  How do you get there? 

  1. You’ll need to decide whether pursuing an MBA is right for you. 
    1. An individual meeting with an admissions rep can help.  Just email us and ask.  At the meeting, we’ll look at your resume and talk over your career goals.  This isn’t a pitch meeting.  We’ll give you honest feedback on whether our program offers what you need.  Sometimes, it doesn’t.
    2. You’re not alone in your graduate degree quandary.  There’s a whole section in businessweek.com dedicated to navigating business schools.  We definitely recommend poking around in there and MBA.com to see if what’s being said about B-school resonates with you. 
  2. Picture yourself at your ideal MBA program.  You’re not just buying a piece of paper to wave around at your next job interview or adding some letters to your Linkedin profile.  An MBA at many schools is a two year investment of your life.  So, where do you want to spend that? 
    1. As much as I’d like to just point to San Diego’s 5 day forecast as proof of our superiority, you’ll really want to visit a class.  There’s a different culture for every campus - visiting a class will give you a sense of class dynamics.  Really watch how professors interact with their students and how they interact with each other.  Is this the type of relationship you want?
    2. It may seem like I’m shilling a product, so you should get the inside scoop directly from a current student or alumni.  The best events are low-key Coffee Chats.  There’s no pressure on either side — just free coffee and stories to go around.
  3. Hit that submit button.  You’ll never know whether your management dreams are going to come true or not until you apply.  Honestly, the application is online and painless.
    1. Here’s our application checklist:

              i.      Application – I think we can agree that filling out your contact information is pretty easy.

              ii.     Academic History - just scan your transcripts in.

              iii.    Three “essays” -  If you combine your status updates from the last two weeks, you’re at your third novel now.  

              iv.    Two letters of recommendation - You don’t even do the work for this part.

              v.     GMAT - If you’re following us, Anna already covered how not a big deal that is.

              vi.    So what’s left?  Maybe the TOEFL.  Otherwise, nothing.

That’s all there is to it.  By following this list, you will have theoretically made the leap from just thinking about getting your MBA, to (if the stars are aligned) actually enrolling in classes.  If you get lost along the way, as always, remember that we’re people.  The Admissions team isn’t a panel silently judging your worth.  We truly are here to hold your hand and walk you through this. 

Michelle Nguyen is a proud UCSD alum and MBA Admissions Coordinator at the Rady School of Management.  When she’s not knee deep in an Excel spreadsheet, she can be found overfeeding her porker of a corgi and negotiating tolerable dog walk lengths.