Why do you want to do an MBA? This is an important question that you will almost certainly be asked in some way by an admissions officer.
When applying to business school, you need to know what your ‘why’ is because your audience wants to get to know you: What motivates you? Where do you want to go in life and in your career? How can their program fit those goals?
Here’s why I decided to leave employment and pursue an MBA:
Why An MBA? For Me, It’s About Progress
So why do an MBA?
When I was working upwards of 10 hours each day in England throughout 2019 for my previous company, I was simultaneously attempting to earn my way out of that job.
My brother and I started an outdoor gear ecommerce company called Bearfist Outdoor. We imported backpacking chairs and insulated cooler backpacks from China. I had dreams that this little business would take off and allow me to quit my job in the UK so I could pursue it full time.
That dream was quickly dashed as we badly mishandled parts of the business like tariffs, marketing, quality control, and a slew of other mistakes.
That’s when I sat down and asked myself what I wanted for my future. It was an easy question to answer. I wanted freedom, I wanted to make my own schedule, I wanted to be there for every tee-ball game, dance recital, and family dinner. Thankfully, I love entrepreneurship and desperately wanted to build my own company someday—realizing that was really my only ticket to such freedom.
To be frank, I also wanted to make a lot of money, and I don’t apologize for that. If that is also a motivating factor for you, just make sure you have legitimate, respectable, and honest goals associated with that earnings wish.
Once that future picture was painted, I assessed my options. I could try ‘going it alone’ again which I had recently failed at in the form of hundreds of unsold outdoor backpacks sitting in my basement. My now defunct e-commerce business crumbled because I had no idea what I was doing.
I could return to the job market and attempt to climb the ever-increasingly-crowded corporate ladder. The thought of that quite literally made me sick.
Or I could invest in myself and pursue an MBA where I would learn the skills that I didn’t have when I was trying to get my business off the ground. That was the only solution I was comfortable with and excited about.
What Can An MBA Do For You?
The MBA degree is exhilarating to me because of its dynamic nature. Business schools all over the world are filled with students from countless backgrounds. You might work on projects with former chemical engineers, actors, Blackhawk helicopter pilots, or any other number of interesting individuals.
Can you imagine the value of rubbing shoulders with these kinds of people? People who are, like you, trying to become their best selves and who you can count on becoming wildly successful in the future. That alone is worth the price tag.
The education itself is also extraordinarily useful. This is the heart of my personal desire to pursue this degree. If I want to succeed in building my own company then I had better spend serious time and effort building the knowledge and honing the skills.
That is precisely what an MBA is for. Whether the goal is entrepreneurship or investment banking, you will absolutely learn the necessary skills for succeeding in your chosen field.
Finding The Right Fit MBA
When first starting the business school application process, the natural instinct is to look up MBA rankings. I would be lying if I said I didn’t do the same thing. Wanting to attend a top-tier school is a fantastic aspiration!
However, I recommend doing so with a caveat. Rather than ordering your top school choices to mirror the rankings of a popular business news outlet, perform careful research with yourself in mind.
If you ask yourself what you want for your career and not necessarily just for your resume, you may find that the number one school in the world doesn’t offer the benefits you’re looking for. In fact, you may find that number 15, or 32, or even 167 fits you best.
In my dozens of interviews with current MBA students throughout the world, a common theme has been the importance of finding the right fit. One mentioned that he realizes now that he would have regretted attending a certain higher-ranked school over his current institution. His reason was that although it was seen as a ‘better’ program generally, the other program wouldn’t have given him the resources that were most valuable to him.
So, while I understand the vanity associated with where you matriculate, try to weigh that against your goals and future dreams.
You won’t regret getting an MBA, period. If you are on the fence about it, try taking a step back, determining where you want to be in five, ten, and forty years, then asking yourself what it will take to do that. The answer may just be an MBA, and now you know your ‘why.’
Our MBA Newcomer, Ryan Price, is the host and founder of MBA Secrets and starts his full-time MBA at BYU Marriott School of Business in the fall. We follow Ryan through his MBA journey, giving you the inside scoop on life as an MBA student.