Happy 100th blog-post!

Just as I logged into blogger today, I discovered that this is my 100th post on this blog! Time flies when you’re busy writing ;-)
Today was another goodbye I’d been dreading, taking leave off approximately 300 books that I sold off to a secondhand bookshop. Somehow seeing my empty bookshelves makes it all feel more real. I am really leaving (in a week’s time).
As I was pondering this, and filling out a evaluation form for my former project manager, I thought it might be good to write down some lessons learnt (yep, once a consultant, always a consultant) during this MBA application process, especially since the new batch of applicants is ready and rearing to go. [disclaimer: I’ve put down some more ‘wise’ words earlier on this blog, links can be found in the right column of this blog]
So here it goes:
* Weigh the different options: full-time or part-time, local school or faraway (maybe even online), US school or European or Asian. I wouldn’t rule out any of them until you know what you want (see next lesson);
* Figure out what is you want from an MBA. Do you need it to get ahead in your industry? Want to change careers? Want to work in a particular area post-MBA? Which schools best suit your purpose? Which schools are particularly strong in your desired field? Do you want to have the opportunity to do an internship or do you want to finish in one year?
* Research. Research. Research. Scour the web, read the forums at businessweek.com (but don’t get deterred by them), read the blogs that are out there, talk to people you know about your plans, contact schools you’re interested in to participate in admissions-events they’re organising or to put you in contact with current students, visit schools, visit MBA fairs, get some books on MBA, in short, do everything you can to find out more about the specific schools, specific programs and the MBA in general;
* Make sure an MBA is something you really, really, really want. Just the preparation for an MBA is both time-consuming and expensive and at some point your nearest and dearest will tell you to get a grip and talk for half an hour trying not to mention the M-word;
* Think about financing early on. The applications process costs a lot of money, not to mention the MBA itself. Get your credit in order and try and save up as much as you can, you’ll need every penny;
* Make a battleplan early on. If you want to visit some schools and MBA fairs, study for and take the GMAT, maybe even the TOEFL,
write your essays AND have a life, that’ll take time. So make a schedule (visit schools/fairs in autumn, take tests in spring, write essays in summer) and a budget and try and stick to it;
* Relax. I know, that’s hard. You’re putting so much time and effort into this, it’s just gotta work. And it will. Or it won’t. But like in life: it’s as much about the journey as it is about the goal. Relax every once in while. Create MBA-free weekends. No GMAT, no essays, just fun. Trust me, it helps and everyone around you will be glad too ;-)
As I’ve said before, I love self-help books (although I must admit that I’ve never read Men are from Mars, Women from Venus….and I don’t plan to), and read some of them once in a while, so I read this article in today’s Times with great interest. The author was an editor of self help books for 16 months and has gotten quite bitter. He’s got a point when he says that some of the books are pure and plain useless psycho-babble, but I wonder what happened that made this guy so bitter. Everyone knows that some books are useful for some people and some are not. We are all adults and it’s up to each and every one of us what you read and take with you from that reading.

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