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Getting that MBA is within reach

   So many people start the New Year by resolving to go back to school and get an MBA.  Everyone has their reason, but as the year moves along the resolution so often goes unfulfilled.  But, this year it doesn't have to.  Follow this advice and you can be working on that MBA by the next New Year.

   In January start looking at local schools.  See what kind of grad programs they offer and what their entrance requirements are.  Also, find out if they do rolling admission or if there are application deadlines.  This is also a good time to found out if your employer offers any tuition assistance.  Many employers will offer tuition reimbursement for "work-required" programs.  Depending on your job and career path many employers consider an MBA essential for advancement. 

   One other thing you need to consider is the kind of program you want to take.  Schools offer many different kinds of MBA options including: Saturday programs, one or two night a week programs, or traditional full-time day study.  You have to pick the program that will work best for you, but make sure you know all of the program rules before deciding.  Many colleges have a time-limit on how long you have to complete a program.  You may only have 3-5 years to finish and you may not be able to do that.  Make sure you know the requirements.

   Whether you've been out of college 10 months or 10 years, most programs require applicants to take either the GRE or GMAT exam.  These tests are basically the SAT's on steroids and I don't recommend trying to tackle them on your own.  There are many test prep businesses out there that run classes to help you improve your score on these exams.  I personally attended the Princeton Review class and I believe I easily scored a 100 points better than I would've without the classes.  Classes are run continuously and you can call your local center for scheduling and prices.

   Once you taken the exam, you are ready to apply.  You'll need the standard things like your exam score and transcripts, but many grad programs require some extras.  Don't be surprised if the program wants a letter of recommendation from a current colleague or boss.  Also, the may require a letter from you stating the reason you want to attend their school.  Send all of your information in at one-time along with your application.  This will reduce the risk of information being lost or misplaced.

   There's one final thing that people going back to school fail to consider, that's the time factor.  Working full-time and going to school, even one class at a time, isn't easy.  We often have family and social commitments that will compete with school requirements.  Don't sell yourself short by not devoting enough time to the work a grad program requires.  Everyone around you will make time sacrifices, but the reward of earning that degree will make it all worth it.  Good Luck.

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