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When Is The Right Time To Get An MBA?

Find out when is the right time is to pursue an MBA and learn how to have the best chance of career success after graduation

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By  Laura Wise

Mon Jul 24 2023

BusinessBecause
Choosing an MBA is all about timing – it is a significant investment of time and money so it’s important not only to choose the right MBA, but to start it at the right time in your career. It adds real value when you have built up enough workplace experience to make the most of the MBA journey and use it to full capacity to leverage onto the next level of leadership, management, or entrepreneurship.

BusinessBecause spoke to Sabarish Satish Kumar, MBA student at the University of Liverpool Management School to find out how he knew when it was the right time to start his Liverpool MBA. 

We also spoke to Bernie Lyons, MBA Career and Leadership Development Coach at Liverpool Management School, to understand how students can make the most of their MBA and elevate their careers. 


Gaining experience before your MBA 

Gaining an MBA can be a critical success factor in reaching the next level in your career, particularly if you have hit a professional ceiling in your current role. Staying in the same role, perhaps at the same level, might eventually stunt your professional growth and restrict your ability to reach your full career and professional potential.

 It may be you seek a managerial or leadership role, want to shift into a new sector, a new role entirely, or explore starting your own enterprise. The MBA is all about transition and change, offering you additional tools in your professional toolbox to take control of your career trajectory.   

Applying for an MBA requires significant, relevant professional experience with responsibility for teams, budgets and/or projects. On average, MBA applicants have a minimum of three years’ work experience in a managerial, leadership or business role.  Outside of that, MBA students come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, sectors, life, and work experiences, which is part of the value of the MBA journey – the opportunity to join a global professional community and learn from each other. 

The University of Liverpool Management School offers two MBAs with a requirement of a minimum of three years’ substantive managerial, leadership or business experience in the private, public or third sectors.

Sabarish worked in various capacities in the information technology (IT) sector prior to the MBA. Fresh out of his bachelor's degree, he joined Wipro, a multinational IT services and consulting company, initially in the revenue team, before moving into several leadership roles.  

During this time Sabarish completed the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification and became both an Associate Chartered Management Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant before accepting a role at a multinational IT consultancy, Capgemini.

“That's when I hyper-focused my talent and found an interest in pricing IT sector deals. This is when I realized, I needed to develop further to reach a managerial level as well as attain specialized knowledge. An MBA is the optimal way to attain that," Sabarish says.


Building your skillset 

An MBA allows you to build on your existing experience and then upskill to develop the capabilities to achieve your career goals, whether to move into a more senior strategic role, improve the performance of your existing organization or start your own business. 

Given the impact an MBA can have on your career, choosing the right MBA is imperative. Sabarish researched thoroughly, first choosing to study in the UK then consulting the QS World Ranking before opting for the University of Liverpool Management School. 

He weighed up several options, including a Master's in either Accounting or Finance, but ultimately decided the MBA would provide the depth of experience and knowledge he sought. 

"I was looking for an MBA because it gives more practical knowledge and an understanding of what I can do in real-life scenarios."

During his MBA, Sabarish found the modules on Leadership and Management were particularly valuable. These helped him to reflect on his strengths, and areas where he could develop.  Doing so has been extremely valuable for his career development, says Sabarish.

"When you're getting into the real-world, you feel equipped with the right knowledge and skills to face any given scenarios," he explains.

He also particularly enjoyed modules in Strategic Management Simulation and Management Consulting. 

The Strategic Management Simulation module at Liverpool requires students to work in teams on multiple tasks centered on strategy, finance, marketing, and operations, to develop their strategic decision-making abilities. 

Management Consulting offers students first-hand practical experience working on a live project with a client organization. 

"We were directly interacting with the clients, delivering presentations, discussing our recommendations and ideas on how their organization could improve," Sabarish says.


Preparing for the future after your MBA

Simply having ‘MBA’ on your CV is not enough. If you want to realize your career aspirations of becoming an effective leader, or to deliver impact for your organization, or create a successful, sustainable business, then it is critical to embrace the full MBA experience and engage in all the activities on offer.   

The University of Liverpool has a specialist Career and Leadership Development facility dedicated to guiding MBA students to design and put into action their own bespoke strategic career development plans. This support starts before they arrive on Campus. 

“Before our students arrive, I have started to gather data about each student’s professional background and their aspirations. I have a CV and an ‘aspiration statement’ from each, and in the first few weeks I meet with each individual to outline a career strategy plan, so they have clear actions to make sure they realize their goals,” says Bernie Lyons who is Liverpool’s dedicated MBA careers and leadership coach.

This allows her to focus on students' goals and tailor their needs accordingly. 

Bernie says that she focuses on three main areas: self-awareness and skills development, market awareness and, “effective articulation of self and skills to employers”. 

She explains: "My philosophy is that the same skills, strengths, and competencies that are deployed for successful career management are equally critical ingredients in effective leadership.” 

Able to reflect on his strengths, and areas where he can develop, Sabarish has found this extremely valuable for his career development.

"When you're going into a real-life scenario, you feel equipped with the right knowledge and skill to face that particular scenario," he explains. 

Despite the extensive support on offer, an MBA is just one part of success Bernie suggests. You need a learning mindset, curiosity and a willingness to fully engage, she says.

“Having an MBA on your CV can help to differentiate you from other job applicants, but the value comes from having a learning mindset and taking full advantage of every opportunity, every guest speaker and networking event – you never know who you might meet or what you might learn.” says Bernie. 

Student Reviews

University of Liverpool School of Management

Karan

Verified

28/09/2023

On Campus

My experience in UOL

Well I won't tell you about all the great things about this university. But I'll just tell you my honest experience about it. I have visited almost all the places here. This university knows how take care of their students. Be it any aspect, be it career and placement department, be it societies, be it organising committees, they know what all issues a student can face and they are ready with the solutions already. Professors here are so welcoming. You can literarily bother them ample number of times but they will still be so nice with you. They actually put a lot of efforts to make letures more fun. They try their best to focus on each and every student and check if they are comfortable or now. Coming to the offerings. They know that there will be a lot of international students and there will be a lot of issues they will face in adjustment over here. So they organised a lot of events, distributed a lot of free vouchers just to make students feel welcomed over here. Trust me if you are looking for a Uni for yourself or for someone, do add this one on your priority list.

Hani

Verified

26/09/2023

On Campus

Fantastic school

The lecturers are incredibly experienced in their field of study, and it shows when they teach. They know what they are talking about, and that instills a level of trust that you have made the right choice coming to this university. They are supportive and charismatic - exactly how lecturers should be! The accommodation is all fantastic too. Homely, comfortable, so close to campus. Even Greenbank, which is a 15 minute bus journey from campus, has its perks (heavily discounted bus pass - from £400 to £60 and free gym membership). There are so many societies too! Literally one for everything. During the society fair, they were all so welcoming which is so great to see. The lecture theatres are all top-notch too. It feels so modernistic. It really feels like I have had a big step up from sixth form to university. I made the right choice by coming to UoL!

Keira

Verified

10/09/2023

On Campus

Original RedBrick Review!!

The Marketing Course at this uni a great course with exceptional industry connections - for example a brand assessment centre from The Hut Group and an assessment centre at Anfield Football Stadium! The campus is great as it is all connected and everything can be found there - so whether you are a Starbucks or Cafe Nero kind of person the campus has everything. Freshers is great with campus tours, city walks and course talks to connect you with fellow coursemates. Halls was also a great experience - I loved the halls packs where you can get free tshirts, baking kits and we even got free dominoes pizzas!!

Francesca

Verified

5/09/2023

On Campus

Enjoyed every aspect of it!

My experience studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool has been amazing! All the lecturers and students have been so lovely and helpful. The management school building is my favourite place to study. I would recommend studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool because the content is so engaging and the assignments are creative.

Ramy

Verified

11/07/2023

Online

Quality

Perfect learning methodologies and curriculums, the most i liked about my learning experience with University of Liverpool is the professionalism, in delivering the subjects and helping the students gaining more knowledge.

Jessica

Verified

30/04/2023

On Campus

Amazing course

The marketing course at UOL is great the lecturers are helpful and provide in-person and online resources to succeed in assignments, and the careers department is extremely helpful. The modules are all relevant and have expanded my understanding of the marketing industry and consumer behaviour, social media and so on

Imogen

Verified

30/04/2023

On Campus

The Best Experience

Currently in my Second Year studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool. Due to the big student culture in Liverpool, you soon feel completely at ease and at home. Staff are extremely helpful - there is always opportunities to ask for additional support/guidance. Each module is clear and well organised - this definitely helps in first year when it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the new workload. It’s very easy to find your way around due to it being a campus university as everything is in close proximity. I lived at Greenbank accommodation in my first year and the staff are so helpful and make you feel very well settled. There is a huge community feel and the modules are interactive meaning making friends is much easier and a lot less intimidating. If you’re considering attending this university and I honestly couldn’t recommend more - you’ll have the best experience!

Student

Verified

6/02/2023

On Campus

Culture

One of my favourite things about this university is the diversity of its people. I met so many different people during my time here, from all different backgrounds and experiences. Not only did these people provide me with insight and knowledge into their own cultures and beliefs, they also allowed me to learn about and understand different ways of life that I would have otherwise never been exposed to. The tutors were also incredibly supportive on this course and allowed me to excel.

India

Verified

29/11/2022

On Campus

Great university!

I did my undergrad in film studies at LJMU and I honestly could not recommend it enough. It has the perfect mix of practical and theory work that prepares you for any job possible in the film industry, from lighting tech to AD. The university lecturers were also very attentive, and I felt comfortable enough with them to seek their help if I ever had an issue or concern, academic or personal. LJMU gave me experiences I would not have got anywhere else, offering summer placements completely free that broadened my horizons. The fact the campus is interspersed around the city also makes it very convenient.

Student

Verified

27/12/2023

On Campus

Law Program

UoL has been a great school to attend so far. I attend UoL's campus in the Cayman Islands, Truman Bodden Law School. Being on such a small island, it has been great with the personal face-to-face with lecturers in understanding topics.

Karan

Verified

28/09/2023

On Campus

My experience in UOL

Well I won't tell you about all the great things about this university. But I'll just tell you my honest experience about it. I have visited almost all the places here. This university knows how take care of their students. Be it any aspect, be it career and placement department, be it societies, be it organising committees, they know what all issues a student can face and they are ready with the solutions already. Professors here are so welcoming. You can literarily bother them ample number of times but they will still be so nice with you. They actually put a lot of efforts to make letures more fun. They try their best to focus on each and every student and check if they are comfortable or now. Coming to the offerings. They know that there will be a lot of international students and there will be a lot of issues they will face in adjustment over here. So they organised a lot of events, distributed a lot of free vouchers just to make students feel welcomed over here. Trust me if you are looking for a Uni for yourself or for someone, do add this one on your priority list.

Hani

Verified

26/09/2023

On Campus

Fantastic school

The lecturers are incredibly experienced in their field of study, and it shows when they teach. They know what they are talking about, and that instills a level of trust that you have made the right choice coming to this university. They are supportive and charismatic - exactly how lecturers should be! The accommodation is all fantastic too. Homely, comfortable, so close to campus. Even Greenbank, which is a 15 minute bus journey from campus, has its perks (heavily discounted bus pass - from £400 to £60 and free gym membership). There are so many societies too! Literally one for everything. During the society fair, they were all so welcoming which is so great to see. The lecture theatres are all top-notch too. It feels so modernistic. It really feels like I have had a big step up from sixth form to university. I made the right choice by coming to UoL!

Keira

Verified

10/09/2023

On Campus

Original RedBrick Review!!

The Marketing Course at this uni a great course with exceptional industry connections - for example a brand assessment centre from The Hut Group and an assessment centre at Anfield Football Stadium! The campus is great as it is all connected and everything can be found there - so whether you are a Starbucks or Cafe Nero kind of person the campus has everything. Freshers is great with campus tours, city walks and course talks to connect you with fellow coursemates. Halls was also a great experience - I loved the halls packs where you can get free tshirts, baking kits and we even got free dominoes pizzas!!

Francesca

Verified

5/09/2023

On Campus

Enjoyed every aspect of it!

My experience studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool has been amazing! All the lecturers and students have been so lovely and helpful. The management school building is my favourite place to study. I would recommend studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool because the content is so engaging and the assignments are creative.

Ramy

Verified

11/07/2023

Online

Quality

Perfect learning methodologies and curriculums, the most i liked about my learning experience with University of Liverpool is the professionalism, in delivering the subjects and helping the students gaining more knowledge.

Jessica

Verified

30/04/2023

On Campus

Amazing course

The marketing course at UOL is great the lecturers are helpful and provide in-person and online resources to succeed in assignments, and the careers department is extremely helpful. The modules are all relevant and have expanded my understanding of the marketing industry and consumer behaviour, social media and so on

Imogen

Verified

30/04/2023

On Campus

The Best Experience

Currently in my Second Year studying Marketing at the University of Liverpool. Due to the big student culture in Liverpool, you soon feel completely at ease and at home. Staff are extremely helpful - there is always opportunities to ask for additional support/guidance. Each module is clear and well organised - this definitely helps in first year when it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the new workload. It’s very easy to find your way around due to it being a campus university as everything is in close proximity. I lived at Greenbank accommodation in my first year and the staff are so helpful and make you feel very well settled. There is a huge community feel and the modules are interactive meaning making friends is much easier and a lot less intimidating. If you’re considering attending this university and I honestly couldn’t recommend more - you’ll have the best experience!

Student

Verified

6/02/2023

On Campus

Culture

One of my favourite things about this university is the diversity of its people. I met so many different people during my time here, from all different backgrounds and experiences. Not only did these people provide me with insight and knowledge into their own cultures and beliefs, they also allowed me to learn about and understand different ways of life that I would have otherwise never been exposed to. The tutors were also incredibly supportive on this course and allowed me to excel.