Regina Quartey, participant of the Executive MBA programme, shares her key considerations when she applied for an MBA.
I feel like my MBA journey started very suddenly. I had initially started to research various MBA programmes back in 2015, straight after my Bachelor’s degree, and after a lot of careful consideration, I decided to pursue a MSc and consider an MBA later down the line when I had more work experience.
Now at the time, although it was my choice, I had not fully realised the valuable asset my career journey would bring to my MBA programme. I feel each module set a memory alive from example to example of real scenarios I have experienced, been impacted by and managed others through. Those “eureka” moments would have been unknown opportunities if I had not gone on this seven year journey of building my professional career prior to my MBA.
My three top tips:
Understand the MBA landscape
The MBA world is vast and you will find that no two programmes are the same. There are programmes that specialise in specific areas, from finance through to executive leadership, and it helps to have an initial understanding of what sort of programme excites and interests you. It is also helpful to research candidates that are on the course, who have graduated - read their testimonials, check out where their MBAs took them. Understanding the world you are entering can help you feel prepared for the workload, what will be expected of you, but also the value you are going to bring to the programme, your cohort and the reputation of the institution that you choose.
This consists of aligning your aspirations to the specific courses and programmes that align with your life and goals. As a mother, a wife, a working professional and business owner - I needed flexibility with programmes. I started on the evening Executive MBA programme and after finding out I was pregnant with my second child, I felt that the weekend programme was much better for me balancing a busy working week and motherhood.
The Executive MBA programme has enabled me to be exactly who I am, with the life commitments I have and still thrive - but I had to know and understand myself to select the MBA programme that suited me as a person. When you understand yourself, you know you can be upfront in your application and interviews and turn up as yourself - knowing that you align with the Institution before they make that decision for you.
Understand your network
You will hear almost every MBA candidate talk about networking as a key benefit of wanting to study at a specific institution, but it is important to be mindful that MBA programmes have a culture and often the type of network you have is a representation of that culture.
I knew that I wanted to build a network at a peer level but also upward - I am one of the youngest and least experienced people in my cohort and I love it, I learn so much more not only from the content each lecture but from the many years of experience that my classes have and the breadth of industries that we have. Think about the network you hope to acquire, and go into your MBA understanding the value that meeting new people can bring to your own network.
I hope this advice is all helpful as you potentially commence your MBA journey!