When it comes to an MBA course, how long should the duration be? Is a year long enough? Are 2 years too long? Should one do their MBA along with their work and stretch it to 3 or 4 years? What is the magic number of months that ensures that an MBA course gets its full due?
Of course it depends on the candidate, but many schools believe that 2 years is perfect for a good program that has general management and areas of concentration or specialization. In the 2 years, one can start with core courses in general management, bring everyone to speed, skim the surface of many subjects and find one in which their interest lies. Then over the summer they can pursue an internship in that field. Depending on their level of commitment towards the subject, they can specialize in it in the second year and have the whole year to gain in-depth knowledge and application know how from experts.
Some colleges feel that 2 years is too long to stay away from the corporate world for financial and career reasons. Hence, they offer 1 year programs. Mostly, the candidates in these courses have a clearer idea of where they are going or at least they think they do at the beginning. They have a solid amount of work experience and have already done the skimming. Of course, this option does not allow for summer internships and the candidate has to dive right in to the corporate world after just 10-11 months of academia.
And then there are some colleges that offer working professionals weekend and evening classes. These could stretch to any amount of time, but most of them are completed in three years. Thought the most difficult form of an MBA, it also ensures that the candidate stays on the job, keeps abreast of the corporate world and does not create a gap in their resume. And in this economy, having a job and keeping it could be a priority.
As a solution to all of this, some colleges have a 15 or 18 month program. This looks to be the best option for three reasons:
You can study at your pace. If you manage to finish the course work in 15 months, you can start work the very next day or you can stretch it out to 18 months.
Summer internships would be like a dry run for a final job placement. All the things you learnt from the internship can be applied almost immediately to your work.
You need not invest 2 years of your career in to an MBA. 15 months is short enough to not get seriously cash strapped, but long enough for you to undergo a rigorous MBA program.
Of course, if you cannot leave the corporate world for any reason, a good executive or online MBA can be your option. And if you do not even have your evenings or weekends off, then this MBA may be your best option: http://www.fastcompany.com/mba/node/98?video=1
It is time…the deadline for Round 1 is almost here and you have not thought of a good answer for Essay No.2 and your supervisor is taking a lot of time to write good things about you. Sure, you can put a little pressure and make him hurry up and find a good answer on the Internet, but is it worth it?
Some colleges like Stern, Tepper and UCLA encourage students to apply in the first couple of rounds because scholarship funds eventually get used up. But some other colleges would argue that all students have the same chance of getting scholarships no matter when they apply. So the first thing to do is check with the BSchool you are most interested in about its policies. Sometimes talking directly to the admissions director can help straighten matters out. But just in case you are vying for Round 1 and are not prepared yet, what should you do?
Pressurizing your supervisor may have an adverse effect on your LOR…but at the same time without a deadline in mind, the letter will never get written. It is easy to see in hind sight how you could have made it easier for your supervisor and you by setting a deadline and giving him a summary of your background and achievements (see here). But hind sight management is not going to save you here. You need to realize that some people work best under pressure and at the same time some things are better done thoroughly because you may not get a second chance.
Are you the kind who works best under pressure? Will you churn out the most impressive essay the night of the deadline and submit it just as the clock turns 12? Will you hound your supervisor till he makes your LOR his first priority? If the answer is Yes, go ahead, grab the opportunity and check your application in for Round 1.
Now, what if you are not the above kind? Do not worry if it is so. Do not think that you are not management material. Maybe you are not a type A personality, but there are very many styles of management and working under pressure is not the only yardstick. You must know that getting in a good application is of utmost importance. True, in some cases, you may lose out on the eligibility for scholarship, but it is better to get admission without scholarship than not get admitted at all. So think about how you can be ready for Round 2, prep your supervisor, get your essay in order and apply before the Round 2 deadline so that you do not have to go through the same dilemma again.
So whether it is Round 1 or 2 or the later rounds, be sure your application is the best it can be.