Why MBA Now: How to tackle it in business school essays and interviews

In the ideal world, if you have decided to do an MBA, you should have complete clarity on the what, when, where and how. But then, we all know that the world is far from ideal. Many MBA aspirants start off from scratch and only have a vague sense on these interrogative words.

We’ve already written about how to choose the right post-MBA career goal. Even before that, comes the question of Why MBA in the first place and we’ve tackled that too.

In our experience, most candidates (thankfully) have a reasonable sense of this. The one question where several stumble in giving a strong rationale, is why pursue an MBA at this stage in your life, whether it is about articulating it in a written essay or during the interview.

While universal solution set could be huge, we present 3 illustrative reasons that may work in many cases.
 

Why MBA Now question in business school essays and interviews

3 potential ways to tackle the question

 

  1. You have the ‘magic’ work experience years count. As per some research we’ve done in the past, most GMAT based MBA programs have an average experience range of 4-5 years, give or take (at the time of joining the program).

    So, if you are near this average, then the explaining required is a tad easier. Having these many years of experience by itself is of course not going to magically work by itself. You still have to spell it out and reason out the why of it.

    After all, not everyone in the world with this experience range applies for an MBA or is even eligible. In this context, it might be important to understand why MBA programs even care for work experience in the first place. Once you being to comprehend that, it gets easier to build the story thereafter.

  2.  

  3. You just reached a career milestone or are about to. This can be a potent one if explained well. Say you are a mechanical engineer in a core field and are trying to answer Why MBA now after engineering.

    One of the ways to justify the switch is to explain a career milestone you’ve reached (say an engineering manager) and juxtaposing it with the rationale for giving a different direction to your career.

    Yes, I know it sounds a bit complicated and it is a bit. But at the heart of it, is the logic that if you have to change something in your career, why wait for another milestone. The milestone can work as both an achievement and a good pivot point.

  4.  

  5. It is a logical next step. Remember, the Why Now question can hardly ever be de-linked with Why MBA and goals questions/narrative. This particular storyline works in case the degree of change you are seeking through an MBA is not huge.

    Let’s consider an example. If you are in the proverbial IT pool and are a developer. You are already a star performer and the ‘logical’ next step for you, in the business world (as opposed to the tech world), is to become a Product Manager.

    The MBA can then work as a fine next step. Bear in mind however that MBA is not a must do for becoming a Product Manager.

Some others argue, especially for those doing it a bit late in their careers, that it is a matter of financial stability. A slightly weak argument (the materialistic answer hardly ever is strong, philosophically speaking) but can fly.

It is important to bear in mind that the actual response is hardly ever one of the above and more likely to be a layered one. Because of its intimate relationship with Why MBA and Goals questions, it is tough to provide a clear guideline on this one; the answer as they say is, complicated.

We hope that this gives you a starting point though and enough ideas to build your own story. We’d love to hear if you have a different narrative which might help the other readers – feel free to share it in the comments section below.
 


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MG (Manish Gupta) //
MG (Manish Gupta)

Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

7 Comments

  1. Aniket says:

    Hi
    I’m not sure if this thread is still active. Anyway, here goes.
    So I’ve scored a 9.4 CGPA on 10 in 10th
    90.7 % in 12th
    I qualified as a chartered accountant in May 2017.
    Ive been working with KPMG since 2014, with 2 years of experience in audit and now 1 year of experience in financial due diligence(mergers and acquisitions).
    I’ve played tennis at the state and north zone level for both my club and my school. Ive also scored a 110 on 120 in toefl which is to say that my command over English, especially articulation is decent.
    However, due to reasons beyond my control I had to leave college after second year (bcom) and I finally took my third year exams from Mumbai university’s institute of distance and open learning.
    Although I’ve scored around 70 percent in my graduation there is a 2 year gap and the final exams are from an open university.
    I do not mind waiting for a couple of years and building upon my profile further before I apply but I would like to aim high (say top 20 b schools) with Columbia being my dream followed closely by Wharton.
    Is the graduation debacle maneuverable or not?
    P. S while I’m still working in mergers, I’m also learning Spanish. I plan to work as a teacher with an NGO as well.

  2. Arun says:

    Hello MG!

    I have about 5 years of Experience in Coal India Limited (Maharatna PSU) and my job description mostly invloves manpower management.I need a change from the working culture of PSU and possibly a slight change in my functional stream (not something like jumping to finance or sales)
    Is doing One year MBA in IIM/ISB worth it?

  3. Prasenjit D says:

    Working as Highway Deign Enginner with 5+years of experience a MNC in Design field. Willing to do a MBA.
    Now will that be worth it?
    Willing to change my focus from designing to Managing in the same field.What will be the a suitable course for my proffesion(which field/speciallization in MBA)?

  4. RAJ KUMAR says:

    Hi MG,

    Here is my profile.Please help to advice my chances of getting into ISB.

    ” NPI product Development Engineering lead and lean manufacturing professional with over 12 years of overseas (Malaysia) work experience in Electronic/Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry”

    Profile:Male
    Nationality: Indian.
    Industry: Electronic Manufacturing
    Age 33
    Married with son
    GMAT Score:640 ( Q43,V34)

    Education:
    M.Tech. (Electrical Engineering) from IIT Roorkee, Roorkee, in the year 2010 with 8.28/10
    B.Tech. (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) from JNTU, Hyderabad, India, in the year 2007 with 65.7%
    Diploma (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) from JN Govt. Polytechnic, Hyderabad in 2002 with 82.77% (Topper of the Batch)

    Other Courses:
    Improving SMT PCBA Process (May’12),
    SPC-Strategic Process Control (Aug’12)
    Statics with JMP10 (Jun’12),
    Strategic Presentation Skills(Oct’12)
    and Technical Writing Skills ( Apr’12) from ProQual Training & Human Resources, PSDC and Right Capital International at IPOH

    Work Experience:
    Aug’10-Jan’11 QA Engineer
    Jan’11-Aug’12 Failure Analysis Engineer
    Aug’13-May’15 Senior NPI Product Engineer
    Since May’15 Staff NPI Product Engineer

    Extra-Curricular:
    – working closely with NGO at Hometown to accelerate and educate youth.

    Post MBA:
    Operations,General Management, Project Management and Consulting.

    Thanks
    Raj

  5. Ankur Verma says:

    Hi,

    I have 6.9 years of experience in Telecom Industry and have worked with best firm in the market-Ericsson. I cleared a few technical certifications in Ericsson.
    I have onsite experience of 2.4 years (2.1 years in Philippines and 3 months in Brasil), However, all the projects delivered in entire tenure are overseas only.
    Currently, I am head of Department in an Indian MNC.
    I have a degree in Electronics and Communication from a private Institution. Education credentials as follows:
    Engineering: 70%
    12th Standard: 67%
    10th standard: 86%

    I have attempted GMAT 2 times and scored just 600 in both the attempts.I am going to write gmat again in 3rd week of May-2017.

    Please suggest whats are the prospects of getting a good college at the score between 600 and 650.Which college should i target?

  6. Ashok says:

    Hi MG,

    My profile details. Please suggest. I have 15 years of experience in IT
    GMAT score 650
    10th =69%
    12th=44%
    bsc=50%
    MCA=65%
    So my question can I go for PGPEX 1 year MBA IIM. Which would be beneficial for my self .

  7. PUSHPIT JAIN says:

    hII, I graduated from DAVV Indore in B.com on correspondence with 61.65% and completed M.com with 65.31% on regular basis I’m also Completed B.Ed on Regular Basis with 60% and I have work experience of 1.2 year as accounts executive. I’m planning for MBA program from ROTMAN SCHOOL OF MGT. CANADA… am i eligible for admission?

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