Early last week we held an information session for people interested in learning more about our Evening MBA program. Fifty-four people signed up. Most showed up. They were full of questions… prospective MBA students are rarely shy.
The bulk of the night’s discussion focused on determining when it was the “right time” to pursue an MBA. Evening MBA programs eliminate the need to quit your day job and survive off of macaroni and cheese, but they make a crowded work week even more crowded. There are only 24 hours in a day and the program is going to demand more than a few of them. The general rule is two to three hours outside of class for each hour inside of class. This level of commitment will also impact your family life. So what you have got going on at home as well as at work matters.
So does what you want to do after you get the degree. Some people are looking to move up in their organizations, others to move out. A few even want to start their own business. The beauty of an MBA is that it provides general skills you can take with you almost anywhere. It is a very mobile degree. What you don’t want to do is earn it and stand still. Skills not used, fade quickly. And business changes rapidly. So you want to get the degree when you can put it to immediate use.
Then there is the question of whether you have enough professional experience to contribute to class discussion and take full advantage of what is being discussed. This is both an issue of the type and breath of your experiences before entering the program. We short-hand this qualification by requiring a minimum of two years professional work experience, but it is more complex than that. Let me explain.
The MBA is a practical degree. It is not advanced academic preparation that readies you to go on in pursuit of your doctorate. It is meant to develop practicing managers. So the classroom experience works best when a faculty member interacts with a group of emerging managers who can explore the practical consequences of theories through a range of real experiences. Dynamic classroom discussion ensues and the student gets the benefit of many perspectives. This is the high-value-added experience we are offering in our Evening MBA.
So in assessing your readiness for the program, it is not just what you can learn from us, but what you bring to the program that impacts our evaluation of your application. To judge your likely contribution, we are most interested in understanding whether you have direct reports and control over some budget. If you are responsible for some people and dollars, you are accountable for moving at least some segment of the enterprise forward. The practice of business isn’t a theoretical exercise for you. It has become a daily responsibility that motivates your search for solutions to the problems you have faced over the last couple of years. Thanks to the efforts of your professors and fellow classmates, what goes on in class will impact what you do on your job tomorrow. We expect that you will reciprocate by offering your experiences and insights in an effort to help others. Everyone wins and there are no free-riders.
If you think you are ready for that type of experience, you’ve got until the end of business on August 1 to start that application for our Evening MBA. Still got questions? Contact Dr. Robert Porter (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Judy Ryder (email@example.com) and they will help you make a decision that is right for you.