Whether you are a fresh undergraduate hungry to learn more or a seasoned worker looking to revamp your corporate skills, there are many advantages to studying an online master’s in business administration (MBA). To help you get started, this express guide will outline the different steps needed to complete an online MBA. Plus, how to make it work for you, including the application process, the secrets to studying effectively, and how to leverage that final degree into a high-paying job. Read on to get the complete overview.
For a lot of people looking to study towards an MBA online, one of the most daunting processes can be knowing how to actually apply. This is especially true when there are so many different courses out there vying for your attention. Especially as more and more universities are offering online courses as a means to entice students and make up for lost income during the era of coronavirus. In order to demystify this part, this guide has been created to make applying for an MBA as easy as possible.
Find the Degree That’s Right for You
The exciting part about an online MBA, which is to some extent replacing full-time in-person MBAs, is that you can essentially study anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. This means you can pick what you are interested in studying and how the various classes will benefit your business career. The criteria you should consider when picking an online MBA include:
Time Spent Studying
Electives on Offer
Business Connections Available
Practical Experiences Possible
Hiring Rate after Graduation
You should always do significant research before you apply. This way you can make sure that you are applying for the best university possible.
Get Your Application Papers Ready
An important part of the process that many recommend you do as early as possible, is to get your undergraduate transcript from your first college. This will be necessary at almost every business school in order to apply. Make sure that it is stamped correctly by the institution and is sealed and expressly delivered to the forwarding institution. As many universities can be a bit slow in this process, try and do this as soon as possible. This means many, many weeks before you start applying properly for the online MBA.
Complete a GMAT or GRE Test
At most American universities, you will be required to complete either a GMAT or GRE test. These tests assess your suitability for the degree. GMAT stands for Graduate Management Admission Test and it is a computer adaptive test that’s set to assess your analytical, writing, and reading skills. It’s worth taking this test seriously in order to make sure that you pass it the first time around. Be aware that there is a $250 fee to sit it and they have just added an analytical writing component. You may also have to do a GRE (graduate records examinations) test, which is rather similar but costs only $205.
Prepare Your Resume
Having a great resume is essential if you want to successfully apply to an online MBA. The admission officers want to know that you are someone with bright, forward-thinking business ideas who will really thrive on the program you are applying for. Here it is important not only to list nearly everything that you have done but to package your achievements to show off your best traits. By working in this fashion, you will be creating the best version of yourself to succeed at an MBA. If possible, try and squeeze in some extra working experience just before you apply to beef up that resume.
Reference letters might not be a necessary part of your application letter, but they help people reading your application to get a great idea of who you are. Reach out to both previous employers and university professors and ask them if they would be willing to write a few nice words about you. Just make sure that when they submit the reference letter that they stamp it with their institution’s official seal so that the people running the online MBA program know it’s legit.
Write a Killer Motivation Letter
Most MBA programs will require you to write a motivation letter as to why you want to join them. Avoid formalistic structures and cliché phrases in favor of a clear description as to why you believe that you are the perfect candidate for the program. Focus on your strongest qualities, steer clear of any glaring weaknesses and use a few anecdotes that show off your problem-solving skills. Make sure to run it by a couple of experts first in order to really make it stand out.
Prepare for Interview
Before you are accepted for an MBA program, it is likely that you will have to do an interview. This will most likely take place over virtual communication platforms, which are quickly becoming the communication method of choice in the pandemic era. In the interview, you will have to restate some of the points in your motivation letter, such as explaining why you want to take the MBA and what makes you stand out as a candidate. Be sure to prepare thoroughly for the interview, including researching the process at the institution and doing mock interviews with friends and family.
Don’t Miss Any Deadlines
The biggest mistake you can make is getting everything in order but end up missing your deadlines. That’s why it is essential to try and do everything well ahead of time. You want to make sure that you are not missing anything. Make a checklist of absolutely all the papers you need and when you need to submit them so you aren’t stung with any late fees, or worse, are unable to study because of tardiness.
If you are reading this part, then congrats, you have been accepted into an online MBA program. The next part of this guide will focus on a few crucial tips to make sure that you have a fun and successful studying process. Read on below for the full overview to turn your MBA studies into a complete success.
Lean on Family and Friends
Studying for your MBA might be a rather stressful experience. That’s why it is recommended to lean on family and friends to get you through the tough time. If you have a long-term partner, make sure to be clear with them that during this time of your life that you will naturally be very busy, but you will surely make it up to them once it’s all over. If it is getting stressful, try and remind them of the higher salaries you will garner as the result of your MBA!
Discover What Motivates You
Motivation is key to success. Before you start your online MBA, make sure to write down what you want to achieve with it. Then remind yourself of how you are going to achieve those aims once you have finished your studies. This will help you to stay focused no matter how difficult your studies eventually become. Remember it’s not just about motivation in general, but also the source of that motivation.
Create a Detailed Time Schedule
It is likely that you will be studying your MBA online as a means to free up time for your other commitments. This can be dangerous, however, as it still involves a lot of work. Creating a timetable can help you navigate any potential issues by prioritizing your time correctly. Once you have an idea of how your weekly course is going to work, you can plan accordingly and easily work when you have to and take time off for childcare or a second job when you need to.
Avoid Stress or Conflicts
Stress and conflict are going to be two of your biggest barriers to making your degree a success. This comes at a time when mental health is becoming more important in a business school context. That’s why it is recommended to try and do as much as you can to minimize the potential of this becoming a serious issue. It is very important to avoid remote work burnout, which is rising under the stresses and strains of the coronavirus pandemic. This could torpedo your study success completely. Write a list of any potential conflict that you might see coming over the horizon and make a schedule to make sure that it won’t get in the way of your work.
Get a Study Buddy
There is no need to study all on your own. For difficult coursework or when revising for exams, it is a great idea to find a like-minded person to become your study buddy. By working together on projects you are essentially making it half as easy in the process, all the while furthering a bond that could come in handy in the future. This leads us on to our next crucial point, which is to:
Network, Network, Network
While some degrees may be the result of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an online MBA is often pursued as a means to get a job. A crucial part of this is networking. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to other students and make sure that you are on the same page. Thereby creating useful connections that might come in handy when starting your own business and looking for a post-graduate job. With this in mind:
Approach Business Leaders
A great course will have business leaders give guest seminars and lectures in order to show you how to be successful in business. Use the contacts available as part of the course to reach out to them, connect with your own ideas and ask for valuable tips to make your first post-graduate business idea a success. Additionally, these contacts may come in handy when you are looking for a job!
Scale Your Business Idea
Always work on your business plans when studying for an online MBA. This will not only help you to complete your studies by helping you to understand the business world better but will allow you to hit the ground running once you have finally finished your masters. It’s likely that some courses will ask you to create a mock business anyway, so it’s worth having this in mind from the very beginning.
Once you have completed your online MBA, it’s crucial to develop a series of strategies to convert it into a flourishing career. The next part of the guide will help you make your post-MBA life a success. Read on below for four crucial tips.
Identify How Your Degree Helped You
It helps here to make a list of all the concepts that you have learned in your degree, along with useful examples, to prove to people that your MBA was definitely worth it. Write down a list as you study your degree with this end-goal in mind.
Add Your Successes to Your LinkedIn/Resume
There’s no point in getting an MBA if you’re not going to tell anyone. Having it on your resume can transform your potential for getting a new job! Make sure to add your success to your LinkedIn, creating a public record of your brilliant work. Also, put it into your resume, along with a brief description of what you learned and how it can translate into a business setting.
Obtain Reference Letters from Your Professors
To really stand out to potential employers, it helps to get a reference letter from your professors showing your success as a student and how you contributed well to group projects. This will give them a vote of confidence that what you learned in the degree can easily be translatable to a corporate setting and make you stand out against other candidates who do not have an online MBA degree.
Apply for Job Interviews
Once you have your successes all listed and your killer reference letter, it is time to put your MBA to the test by applying for jobs. Make sure that when you are filling out any forms, detail your successes in life so far like your MBA. Remember to pay extra attention to what you learned in your MBA, including any relevant practical examples, and show off your achievements. You should also develop some key talking points for the interview to maximize your chances of landing your dream job.
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