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Eight proven ways to know you are 100% ready to apply for an MBA

When the Cambridge MBA admissions team meet candidates, we hear many reasons why candidates want to undertake an MBA. With such a big commitment, it can be difficult to know when to take the plunge, but here are eight ways you can tell it’s the right time.

Cambridge MBA students talking

  1. You’ve hit a career plateau
    One of the most common reasons for undertaking an MBA is that you have reached a point in your career where you feel you can no longer progress. This often happens to candidates when they are at a mid-level position and need greater expertise to progress to a senior role.Global experiences such as the Global Consulting Project on the Cambridge MBA can give you valuable international experience which might help you advance your career – and developing your management skills in courses such as Management Praxis will make you a better, more effective leader.
  2. You want to change career path
    Some candidates know they want to undertake a career change, and the MBA is a proven route to new career avenues. It often helps if you have some idea, even if it’s not completely solid, of what sector or industry you want to move into so that you can most effectively make use if the MBA experience.Most MBAs offer options to tailor your MBA (such as Cambridge MBA Concentrations), and working with a dedicated careers team will help you build a plan to access career change opportunities. In last year’s Cambridge MBA class, 75 per cent students changed job function post-MBA – so a significant career change is a very achievable option for our graduates.
  3. You want to build a network
    Maybe you’re happy with your current career, but feel you don’t have access to the right network to help you grow. An MBA offers an amazing opportunity to meet new people and make connections, both with classmates, employers and faculty, but also in the case of the Cambridge MBA, within your College, the wider University and Cambridge as a city. The Cambridge network means that students often help each other find jobs, as well as come back representing their companies to take on student groups for the practical consulting projects, which again, sometimes lead to permanent positions.
  4. You want to start your own business
    Are you nurturing a new idea? Many people choose to do an MBA with an idea for a business venture already in mind and use the experience to develop their skills, meet future business partners, or even in the case of Accelerate Cambridge at Cambridge Judge, be accepted onto a start-up incubator. Many successful start-ups in Cambridge have started life through collaborations at the School, such as Syndicate Room, Cambridge Energy Partners, and Entomics (founded by a Cambridge MBA with three Cambridge science graduates).The right MBA will give you the key business fundamentals to allow you to run a business, as well as the specific networks and advice to support the launch and progression of new and young businesses.
  5. You’re after some collaboration
    Working within a business hierarchy can be constraining and sometimes isolating. You might want to spend some time working with others of a similar level of experience, but different background or perspective. The Cambridge MBA has a smaller class size, which allows for a fruitful collaborative environment where students rapidly make meaningful partnerships.
  6. You’re at the right time in your life
    Taking an MBA is sometimes simply about timing. Whether that’s the right time in your career, or your life generally, timing certainly has an impact. For some people this is factored around when they want to start a family, for others when they have enough freedom to make a substantial move or career change. Take a close look at your situation and just think about the first step, what would that entail?
  7. You have a good support network
    A year-long MBA is an intensive undertaking, and it helps to have a good support network to make it a success. If you feel you have the support of friends, colleagues, managers or within your relationship, you might think that now is the time to leverage that. A year-long MBA is an intense experience, and you’ll be glad to have a shoulder to lean on when the essay deadlines roll round!
  8. You have an open mind
    Finally, while you might have an idea of what you want to do when you start the MBA, it helps if you are flexible and open to change. Students very often don’t end up in the places they expected once they leave the Cambridge MBA, and that’s largely because they were flexible and open to the myriad of opportunities that presented themselves while they were at the School.

An MBA is not a small undertaking, but if you know it’s right for you, it can be a life changing experience.