Exactly How Hard Is An MBA?
By juggling classes, networking, research, and exams, how hard is an MBA? If you’re thinking about applying for an MBA, you may be wondering exactly this! We’re here to help you decide if you have what it takes to take this academic journey.
Getting on the course
If you want to get into one of the top business schools, you’ll have to prepare yourself for one of the toughest application processes. In fact, if you speak to most MBA graduates, they will say the application process is the hardest part of the course.
So you know how hard some of the institutions are, Leverage Edu reported 20 different business schools in the UK with their acceptance rate in 2020. They reported London Business School (LBS) with a 25% acceptance rate and Saiid Business School (University of Oxford) with the lowest acceptance rate between 6-10%.
They reported the University of Birmingham’s business school with an acceptance rate of 75%. Compared to US business schools, Standford has an acceptance rate of 6% while Havard has 11%.
Master the application
Now you know how low acceptance rates are, this is the toughest part. You can’t just master the application, you have to be a shining beacon in the applicant pile list. Your all-important application should include:
- Undergraduate degree and grade
- Relevant work experience (if you’re applying for a top-tier university, aim to have at least four years of experience)
- Employer (and university) references
- A personal statement
- GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score
The most important aspect of your application will be your essay which should be viewed not only as your statement of intent to join the course but also as yourself as a ‘brand’. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, quotes a brand “Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” Your essay should include a genuine fact about yourself in addition to a ‘stand out from the crowd’ story. The aim is to allure the Admission officers to your application. This could be a personal experience or a lifelong goal.
The second part of your application will be your GMAT score. The GMAT assesses your analytical, quantitative, verbal, reading and writing skills in English. With hundreds and thousands of MBA applicants each year, it is important to aim high. The best business schools will be looking for scores of at least 700, so if you fall short, it’s a good idea to try again. Many students typically take the test a year before applying to give them enough time to prepare and achieve a great score, but to also give them enough time in case they fail to reach a certain score.
If you’d like to read more about the GMAT, click the images below.
If you are one of the lucky few to reach the interview stage consider this an achievement. But don’t relax just yet! According to Chioma Isiadino, a former assistant director of admissions at Havard Business School, roughly 30-60% of candidates can expect an offer after the interview – so you really need to work hard to impress. In order to achieve maximum impression, you need to make sure you do plenty of research on your target school, and course and practice common questions asked during your MBA interview. In addition, you need to perfect your personal sales pitch. Some of the questions you’ll be faced with are mostly based on your personal statement and how the school and degree will help shape your future. You can find some of these questions easily online, but you can click the images below to see some examples.
On the day of your interview, you should be aware your ‘interview’ officially starts when you leave your home and ends once you return. So make sure you have dressed appropriately and well-behaved out in public as you can never be sure you’ll run into the interviewer(s) or admissions team – you want to make sure your first impression is everything.
Full-time v Part-time
Like any other postgraduate degree, the MBA also has a full-time and part-time course. Those who take the full-time option are 100% concentrated on the course and likely to find the workload less intimidating. But those who choose part-time will likely find the financial commitment far more manageable in addition to applying any newly learnt material directly into the workplace straight away. Let’s dive into the full-time and part-time expectations.
Those who choose the full-time course should treat the MBA as a full-time job. This is because that’s how much time you are expected to put in, maybe even more. The school day is likely to kick off at 8 or 9 in the morning and typically ends at 5 or 6 in the evening in addition to a couple more hours of research or preparatory reading at home.
Often schools organise guest speakers during the weekend, so you need to factor in hours for networking. While it’s not the most appealing schedule, it will be worth it in the end by sacrificing a few socialising hours for the duration of your full-time course, you most likely walk away with the MBA prize.
If you decide to go part-time, you’re looking to commit around 10 to 20 hours of education per week. Similarly to the full-time course, schools will organise guest speakers during the weekend so factor in a few more hours of networking and seminars for them. When there are coursework or exam deadlines approaching, you should also factor in potentially doubling your committed studying hours.
As you’re studying part-time, you’ll most likely be working alongside which could easily mean you are working and studying over 60 hours per week and this could be an exhausting timetable. If you are considering part-time courses you should ask yourself if you’re willing to do what it takes to do the course. This is because you will be juggling your work and family time, and quite possibly sacrificing your social life for at least two years. If you are still unsure, you should seek external advice prior to applying.
Grades are typically something that schools do not like to discuss to avoid friction, competition and fear among the students. Typically you are awarded a pass, merit or distinction upon graduation or failure if you fail. We never recommend scraping through but it’s worth checking whether or not the business school show the grade marks so you know what you need to achieve. If by any chance you are struggling within the course or mentally you are overwhelmed, you could make your life easier by not striving to be at the top of the class and every project, but rather aiming to do better in some rather than in everything.
You should however know that you are the only one who knows what your limit is and you should definitely seek help from the school’s counsellor or services that they offer to help you strive to do your very best in the course.
At Lendwise, we understand the importance of an MBA. It can help you advance your career, earn a higher salary, and achieve your professional goals. But we also know they can be expensive.
We also understand that everyone’s journey is different. Whether you’re applying for a part-time or full-time MBA, the loan can help you achieve your goals. When you’re ready, you can *apply online. We’ll help get on the path to success.
*Credit is subject to status and loan approval is not guaranteed. Over 18’s only. T&Cs apply.