You are here

Do you have your sights on an MBA? Maybe you're aiming to one day have the shiny title of VP or CEO, but before you dream too big of a dream it's important to know how you'll get there. Business management and public administration students accounted for over 100,000 graduates in 2011.

And the numbers in MBA enrolment has also increased. From 2008 to 2012, there was a seven per cent rise in Canadian students taking the required GMAT examination.

The MBA weigh-in

Before you jump into your postgrad, it's important to first ask yourself some questions and weigh in whether an MBA is right for you.

Develop a clear understanding of the role an MBA will play in your career, says Dan Shaw, director of the corporate residency MBA program at Dalhousie University. That doesn't mean they have to know exactly what they want to do when they graduate, but ultimately you go into an MBA because of the quality of the people that are in that classroom and the quality of employment opportunities that result from it.

An MBA is like taking on another job. And with the minimum of two years of work experience required at the University of Manitoba's Asper School of Business MBA program, students have to be able to handle work and school.

It's a commitment and it's demanding, says Marci Elliott, executive director of the program. I think there needs to be a clear understanding of the time commitment, and so that also means that your family and friends need to understand that commitment.

I'm in. What's next?

You've gone back and forth with the possibilities and all signs point to yes. Now it's time to apply.

In addition to the requirement of two years of work experience, students must also prepare to write their GMAT and maintain a high GPA.

We're looking for someone who has some leadership ability, has done some extracurricular, and who has the potential to manage people, says Shaw. You have to have the ability to work with people and lead people.

And as an Asper MBA alumna, Elliott advises that women be encouraged in pursuing an MBA education. There's a confidence that you personally get, but there's some sort of confidence that the market has in you. From a female perspective, an MBA is just a fabulous asset for upward mobility for women in the marketplace.

What can I expect?

As with any postgraduate program, you can expect a demanding course load which balances both settings in class and in the workplace.

The first six months of the program is very much focused on career development and personal development, says Shaw, where students are tested on their personality type, emotional intelligence, and interest and aptitude.

Near the end of the summer, we send out a big resum├® book to our employers and our interview day is structured in two days, he adds, speaking of the co-op term, a time that employers look forward to. Our students pitch a one-minute value proposition pitch about why they should be hired'this pushes beyond the resum├®.

Photo: Julianne Eyre/Thinkstock