Guest Post: Ready for a Career Change? Try an MBA

Are you having trouble envisioning your future in your current position or field of business?  Would you be surprised to know that roughly two thirds of MBA students have enrolled in their programs to enable a career change?  While admissions committees are looking for candidates with clear and directed goals, they understand that many applicants are aiming for new experience and opportunity through their MBA program to facilitate a career shift.

Obtaining an MBA may be a great way to change careers or take yours to another level. The exposure you receive to new networks, relevant activities and classroom learning are all capable of significantly changing your mindset as well as your outlook on your industry.

If you’re interested in switching careers through an MBA, you’ll want to do some soul searching before you apply to a particular program.  While an MBA career may be an excellent vehicle for career change, it may also require a hefty investment. Therefore, it’s a good idea to figure out where you want your MBA to lead you before you pursue this degree. That process might also help you compile a stronger application essay that contains carefully planned long-term career goals.

Once you have been accepted, clearly understanding what you want and expect upon completion of your degree will help you to plan, as best as possible, how to take full advantage of your time in the program.  If you think about it from a business perspective, you will certainly want to get the most value for your money.  The best way to do this may be to create your own opportunities while in the program.  For example, research your target industry and look for clubs or professional organizations that will expose you to companies or potential employers, in that industry.

One could argue that an MBA is less about the classroom learning and more about the exposure and networking.  As an MBA student, you’ll have access to an abundance of resources and people that may expand your career opportunities.  It will be your responsibility to make the most of the time you have during your program.

So don’t expect that the program will help you figure out what you want to do with your life.  If you decide to pursue an MBA, you should know what you want to do before you enroll. Having a plan means that you can judge whether you are getting your money’s worth.

If you need help figuring out what you want your future to look like, consider some of the following steps.

  • Take the time to research different MBA programs and particular areas of study within the program.
  • Look to find something that really sparks your fire. While doing this, locate a seasoned business leader that you respect who can mentor you in your transition. Many professionals enjoy giving back to younger individuals in a mentor-protégé relationship. They can be helpful in guiding your thought process.
  • When making difficult decisions, it’s useful to hear yourself talk out loud about what you have been thinking.  This will either reassure you that you’re thinking in the right direction or make it clear that you really want to do something completely different.
  • Once you have determined what you want your future career to look like, put it down on paper, in detail. Look for ways to build experience in the direction you want to move.

Written  by University of Pennsylvania graduate and freelance writer 
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