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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.