Welcome to MBA Poland

How to prepare for Polish MBA? - Part I

Jakub Leszczyński - 6 lutego 2013

Is it possible to be prepared for MBA studies? We are all accustomed to entrance exams to which you can easily prepare yourself. However, MBA programs conducted in Poland differ from typical studies, and requirements for candidates are in principle prepared individually by each of the programs. GMAT exam or an interview appear in the application process. If the studies are conducted in whole or in part in a foreign language, that foreign language level is also checked. Quite often the application process consists in an recruitment interview. However, in addition to these formal requirements such items should appear in the process of preparing for MBA studies as: relevant work experience, familiarization with the offer of MBA programs, self- and family preparation. Hence, the process of getting into MBA studies should be focused on a really good preparation to study MBA.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
One of the basic requirements of most MBA programs in Poland is minimal experience. It is dictated by the focus of the studies on the practical aspects of management. A person without work experience will not be able to fully appreciate and benefit from the knowledge transmitted in the classroom.

"Graduates who report to us straight after undergraduate, master's or doctorate, are advised to return in a few years, when they become professionals," says Dr. Peter Buła KSB CUE Krakow. Prof. Witold Orlowski from Warsaw University of Technology Business School supports the thesis by saying that a good candidate for an MBA, "knows what he wants, has an open mind, interested in the world, has adequate knowledge and experience." A good MBA student must have interpersonal and teamwork skills, ability to plan and create new ideas, and ability to set objectives. Additionally, worth mentioning is self-discipline, time management and the attitude toward very hard work. Most of these aspects can be learned at work. "Candidates for the MBA program should be characterized by the same things as good managers," says Dr. Buła. And where else can you become a good manager than not in practice? Moreover, graduates of MBA programs point out that several years of work experience is really useful. Students learn practical management from other students, from different industries. In the manager's work, case studies, and specific solutions to managerial issues are the most important aspects of their studying. So, the requirement from admission committee of work experience in a management position is not such a trivial thing. Thus, appicant should be really prepared to meet the committee’s expectations. I can’t be done in a month or two, so the preparation process shuld begin with a certain advance.

MARKET RESEARCH
During the acquisition of professional practice, you can use the time to consult the MBA studies market. In many conversations with directors of programs, graduates and MBA students replicates the thesis that you should look for a program that gives global management knowledge and a good, recognized diploma of a schoold which is high in rankings. Appropriate marekt research makes it possible to determine some specific and measurable goals to be met after graduation. Just a few to mention are: satisfaction of spending time on studying, effort put into each exam, and not so small money. Krzysztof Łoopatek, GFKM MBA graduate, confirms that opinions of those who finished the program are very important. While Paweł Motyl, director of ICAN Institute, suggests to check upfront the experience of the selected course provider and the scholars’ profiles. It may happen that an "interesting program is run by people who do not have sufficient qualifications and experience in coaching," said Motyl. Agnieszka Ert-Eberdt, a graduate of the International MBA Warsaw University of Technology, suggests that you should consider the reputation and traditions of the university, the quality of foreign partners, faculty, or facilities of the institution. Ert-Eberdt is of the opinion that the choice of program should imply from the purpose of studying. According to her, everyone should have this goal clearly defined, and everyone should ask themselves: "what are these studies for? Which area of my experience I want to improve?" Therefore, a thorough analysis of the offer MBA programs is a must. It will help to answer these questions. Due to different priorities and needs, it is good to search for the appropriate program and find such one that is best for you.

TRY OUT THE PROGRAM
It is not a very common practice, but some MBA programs offer a possibility to try out the program. It gives an opportunity to check whether the selected program is really what an applicant wishes for. Professor Marek Gruszczyński and Professor Wieslaw Banasiewicz from Canadia Executive MBA School of Economics explain that some programs arrange special classes that are similar to the real ones so that the applicants could see how such classes and atmosphere during the studies look like. It is also possible to talk to students and faculty. It is good to gather ideas what to do with MBA diploma and to be more sure that the selected program is really the one. MBA study is a huge challenge in life, and cost a little bit. It is better to be convinced that this is right program. If there is hesitation, there is still time to think what can be done before the study. So, be prepared for MBA studies by coming to class before the start of a real program. Hence, the trial classes seem to be an invaluable preparation for those interested in studying MBA.

INTERVIEW
Once you have done all preparations and you are really certain that the selected MBA program is the best thing for you, you can start formal recruitment process. The most common step in the application for MBA studies is the recruitment interview. There is always a question whether you can prepare for an interview. Some professors briefly say "no." Either you got it or not. Dr. Mieczyslaw Blonski, the Prestigious American MBA, adds that no preparation is needed. The only thing that matters is common sense. However, Professor Witold Bielecki, Leon Koźmiński Academy in Warsaw, advices to “convince the committee that the knowledge acquired during the MBA program is necessary for you so as is the water for a fish, which means that the MBA study will allow you effectively manage your workplace, business, or that due to the studies you are going to work much more effectively in a large organization. (...) A person with a fairly high position in a company can quite easily indicate what knowledge he or she lacks, and thus demonstrate that the knowledge acquired in the program is really needed”. As you can see to a certain extent you can prepare yourself for the interview. You can have a list of arguments, based on your own experience, needs and goals and. You should talk in a logical and convincing way that you are the best candidate.

However, before starting meeting the above mentioned formal requirements you should also prepare yourself (mentally) and your family. It is important to know yourself, your motivations, needs, and to analyze whether this is the right time to study MBA. The studies will definitely affect your career and personal development. That will also mean scheduling classes, family and friends.

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Jakub Leszczyński

Chief Editor @ MBA Portal / mbapoland.com

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