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How to prepare for Polish MBA? - Part II

Jakub Leszczyński - 6 lutego 2013

Before applying to a MBA program it is worth sparing a thought on a couple of issues such as finding the right moment to study, getting to know ones needs, strengths and weaknesses, and preparing the whole family for the new assignment.

The right time

The right time to start an MBA program means the appropriate moment in terms of career, personal life and the real professional needs. It is important to study while working when real managerial problems can be found. They can be solved thanks to the knowledge gained on classes. Prof. Christopher Obłój, of Warsaw-Illinois Executive MBA Program, admits that he often has to tell an applicant that these studies are not for him or her at that moment. The applicant has to meet all requirements and choose the best moment in his or her life so that he or she could benefit from the studies at most. Very often the program Master of Business Administration helps at work and in professional career already during the study. Case studies from classes can be applied at work. Sometimes, while studying that MBA student gets promoted. Therefore, there is an opinion that the most important issue in preparation for the MBA is just finding the right moment to begin this studies. Only then the student can benefit at most, says Thomas Ludwicki of the Warsaw-Illinois Executive MBA program.

Needs, strengths & weaknesses

While thinking about the proper time for MBA studies each applicant should also get to know his or her strengths, weaknesses, motivations and needs. Then it is important to answer the question what are the studies for? It is good to know how to combine the knowledge acquired on classes with career, needs and personal development. "A vision of the first day as a retiree/pensioner or future expectations from life might be helpful. Going backwards towards the present day is the way of finding the right path to make dreams come true. This is how the solution, which MBA program is suitable for the applicant, can be found. If any of the milestones on this journey in time will be feasible only with the previously completed MBA, then there is nothing else to do, but to undertake it, advices Christoph Michalak, a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In addition, it should be thoroughly rethought how to use the MBA degree. This diploma is not just another document, or a diploma that everyone adorn. It ought to be part of a deliberate career path. Therefore, it has to be carefully planed how to capitalize the knowledge. Moreover, studying MBA program just because it is fashionable is not a good idea. It must be a component of the development plan, career and personal development. Anna Wrobel, a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management, suggests that the applicant must really think whether MBA program is definitely an important stage in the life of that person. It is sometimes better to choose a training or other post-graduate studies that are more suitable in that person development. There are, after all, companies that are open to solutions such as "gap year" or "secondment" (the practice in other, non-competitive company). So, it is worth sparing a thought long before the start of the academic year, what is the added value of the program; not only in financial terms, but mainly because of personal development.

The right attitude

Knowing oneself is not always the same as a good attitude towards MBA study. Prof. Marek Gruszczyński and Wiesław Banasiewicz of the CEMB School of Economics warn that for each hour spent on classes 2 hours should be spent at home on studying. In addition, the organization of classes can be tight. The subjects at university are held one after the other. Thus, the work at home with a book is very important. Week of an absence from classes may result in failing an exam. So, the applicant ought to be prepared for the practical learning of time management and be full of positive energy. Barbara Daniel, a graduate of the College of Management MBA - Polish Open University, adds that the pros and cons of undertaking MBA studies should be taken into account. Besides, moments of doubt can come. MBA is tough physically, time-consuming and require a systematic work.

Studying with family?

In addition to the personal preparation for MBA studies it is also worth to analyze ones life situation. The studies can be overwhelming. Some people joke that MBA candidates engage their families, friends and colleagues in their studying. There are many requirements to be met, exams, work in teams, work on case studies, work at home to be expected. It can sometimes make/give life a misery. Hence, preparing ones family to MBA studies seems to be incredibly important. It can be foreseen that the time for family and friends during the MBA studies will be almost inexistent. However, it is good to schedule time to study, as well as time for family. It should be done together with the family. Then, the applicant can partially be prepared for undertaking MBA studies.

MBA diploma can be a huge investment in the future career, but can be  also a big challenge for the candidate and his or her entourage. This studies require very often a several-year preparation. This is not about preparation for entry exams, but rather a suitable directing career path so as to maximize the knowledge offered by the MBA program. Professional practical management skills and life experiences are issues, without which there is nothing to dream about undertaking a good MBA. Plus the attitude towards hard work, in a way family sacrifice, as well as finding the right moment in life is inevitable. All this to achieve maximum benefits from MBA program which costs not so small amount of money.

The article is based on interviews with directors, and graduates of MBA studies which were published in the MBA Portal. The full texts of interviews you can found in the "Interviews" section (only in Polish).

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Jakub Leszczyński

chief editor MBA Portal / mbapoland.com

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