If you’re anything like me and most of the other MBA candidates I know, thoughts of pursuing an MBA would have popped up in your head perhaps years before you finally committed to the idea of applying.

In fact, perhaps you’re reading this still unsure if it is for you and if now is the right time. Others of you (and I hope many!) will be beginning to research programmes and apply for your MBA during the coming weeks and months ahead.

So, how should you be researching MBA programmes to ensure that you’re happy with your decision and pursuing the right programme at the right school for you?

I am now just a few weeks into my Full-Time MBA at Imperial College Business School and I am convinced that I’m already seeing some growth in my personal and professional competencies. My cohort is just what I wanted – a diverse and supportive group of people who showcase a collaborative spirit. I feel like I’ve made the right decision and that’s a really huge relief.

An MBA is such an immense investment of time, effort and money that research is the key to ensure you choose the programme perfect for you and your professional goals depending where you are in your career. 

Here are my top 5 tips on what you should be considering before you apply for Full-Time MBA:

  1. Reflect on your motivations – really ask yourself why you want to do an MBA and challenge whether you can achieve those aspirations with an MBA. The answer may be no, but you’d rather know that before you do an MBA than during the process. This exercise will also help you feel committed to the cause and prioritise your MBA goals which are so important to have crystal clear in your mind.
  2. Get insights from people who have done an MBA – For me, the moment I knew this was something I wanted to pursue this year was when I spoke to a senior manager at my previous employer about his MBA experience. He’s someone I aspire to be more like and a great leader. Hearing what he accomplished and experienced sold the programme for me and pushed me to apply. The same may happen to you, or you may get other useful insights. Information is key so get it from people who have been there and have a vested interest to tell you what it’s really like!
  3. Research the basics and start early – MBA programmes all vary. Do the basic research on duration of the programme, cohort size, programme structure, elective options, fees, and GMAT requirements all well in advance of applying. This will really help you narrow down quickly the schools which appeal to you and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by all the options. Giving yourself enough time is key – GMAT requires time and effort, as do many of the application forms to study an MBA. It’s a competitive process so starting early means you can do your best and not feel rushed with applications
  4. Follow up with information sessions and recruitment events – Trust me, you spend a lot of time at university and with your cohort on an MBA. You need to make sure you can see yourself studying there and enjoying the experience with your classmates. There is no better way to assess if you resonate with the school and the programme than attending information sessions, campus visits, alumni talks and other recruitment events. I highly recommend visiting Imperial to gauge its unique innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and campus life. South Kensington is also rather suave! 
  5. Be confident in your abilities – There’s never a perfect time. If you know your MBA goals and if you’re dedicated to achieving them then go for it. It’s also OK to feel you would prefer to apply next year. Talk to your trusted network about your concerns and recruitment teams for advice on the matter.

And that’s it! The hardest part is deciding that you’re actually going to do this and taking the first step. I’m wishing you lots of success in your research and preparation. Hope this helps!

Natasha is a student in our 2017-18 Full-Time MBA class. Click here to download the class profile book