5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending Business School

HomeJobs5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending Business School

Want to Score Cash For Free?

  • Survey Junkie: Earn up to $50 per survey with one of the highest-paying survey sites on the web. Join Survey Junkie Now
  • SoFi Money: Earning money for unlocking better features sounds like a dream. But this free banking app really pays you $100 with you switch your direct deposit to SoFi Money. Get SoFi Money.
  • Aspiration: This mobile banking app lets you do everything for free and takes no fees — ever. Better yet, if you join through this link you can get $100 in your new account.

Whether you’re looking to open new doors professionally or expand your skill set in your current career, getting an education in business can give you the tools to follow your dream.

Maybe you’re one of the 67% of millennials pursuing self-employment or entrepreneurship, or you’re already an active participant in the still-booming gig economy – depending on your motivations, gaining some business know-how could be a worthwhile investment of your time and money.

But it’s also worth a reminder that a business degree – whether it’s an associate’s, a bachelor’s or an MBA – is hard work, and not necessarily an automatic guarantee of success.

Here are a few things you should consider before proceeding full steam ahead.

Should I Attend Business School? What You Should Know Before Deciding

1. Having a business degree won’t necessarily mean a return on investment

It’ll likely come as no surprise that business school is expensive. The average MBA will lighten your wallet to the tune of $9,000 a year for up to 3 years. You’ll probably have to take on debt in order to finance this degree – in addition to any pre-existing debt that you may already have. But even if you’re planning on paying for it out-of-pocket, you’ll have to ask yourself: is it likely that this degree will help me earn back my investment? When is an MBA worth it?

Want Free Money?

  • Aspiration: Want to get spotted a $150 for free? Simply sign up for Aspiration, and the free banking app will give you cash for free, you just relax while it gives you $150 just for opening a new debit card. There’s no catch. This bank account is legit and only takes two minutes to sign up for an account.

If you haven’t entered the workforce yet, you’ll want to explore the business careers available so you can customize your business program to help you land one after graduation. If you plan on pursuing a business degree while still working with your current company or organization, you’ll want to look into possible education benefits and whether an advanced degree will result in a higher salary or more opportunities for career growth.

You’ll also want to weigh the cost of the degree versus the potential in salary growth to see if the investment in your education with yield a higher ROI. Of course, there are ways to cut costs like going to a community college, obtaining an online business degree, etc. At the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with pursuing education for education’s sake, but it’s a wise idea to get the facts and figures squared away before sending off your business school application fee.

2. Not all business schools are created equal – and that’s okay

While it may seem like a business degree comes with a one-size-fits-all curriculum, this is not the case. You should choose which business school to attend the same way you would any other university – by exploring several different options to see which school has professors that specialize in what you wish to study and if they offer courses in areas that are of interest to you.

And don’t underestimate the importance of a campus visit – it might seem a little silly, but it’s hard to get an idea of the vibe of the school and how faculty and students interact with one another if you don’t actually go and see it for yourself. You’ll be spending a lot of time with these people, so it’s important to know if you’ll be able to work well together; you don’t want to spend potentially three years of your life (not to mention thousands of dollars) dreading your interactions with your teachers or classmates.

If you have your eye set on a prestigious school, but after visiting the campus or department you find that it may not be a good fit, by all means, look elsewhere! After all, the people you meet in business school are going to end up being your future colleagues and customers.

3. Yes, the GMAT matters…

…and yes, you need to take it and do well. The GMAT (or the Graduate Management Admission Test) is the standardized test that most business schools require for admission, so chances are pretty high that you won’t be able to avoid taking it. Like the GRE, the GMAT tests both math and writing skills, but unlike the GRE, the GMAT also assess logic, critical reasoning skills and your problem-solving abilities.

It’s designed to predict how well you will do in business school, and most programs take GMAT scores very seriously in deciding whom to admit. It’s not the kind of test you want to blow off – especially because you’ll have to shell out $250 for every test attempt.

is an mba worth it

If you’re concerned about potentially receiving a low score, it might be worth it to enroll in a test prep course or see if the schools you’re interested in offer GMAT waivers. The waivers are designed for applicants who already have at least some business-related work experience; if you’re given a waiver, you won’t have to take the GMAT, but you will have to submit a letter detailing your professional experience. It’s at least worth asking for one, but ultimately you should be prepared to take the GMAT at least once.

4. Evaluate how much time you have to dedicate to business school

Attending business school is a lot like having a full-time job, or a second full-time job if you plan to also work while getting your degree. Even though it’s “school”, the pace is intense and the time commitment is considerable, especially if you’re pursuing an MBA.

Your first year will likely be all about cramming in the core curriculum – perhaps with a few electives – and as early as October you should start pursuing summer internships possibilities. It will be daunting, and it will definitely be stressful; this is why it’s so important to find a school that’s a good fit for you since you’ll need the support and camaraderie of your fellow classmates.

attending business school

The second year of business school typically includes the bulk of your elective courses, and from that point on, you’ll be busy with the last of your coursework, updating your resumé, searching for jobs and preparing for interviews, in addition to any internships or extracurriculars. To alleviate a little bit of the pressure, you can find part-time, online business programs, though you’ll be following the same curriculum with the same requirements…it just may take longer to earn your degree.

5. Self-doubt may creep in, but you deserve to be there

When you’re in the thick of classes, paper writing and projects, internships and the overall tough workload of business school, there will absolutely be times that you doubt yourself – especially if you begin to compare yourself to your classmates.

It’s natural and it will happen; it’s called “Impostor Syndrome” and it is super common among students in any competitive field of study, particularly at the graduate level. Business school is designed to be challenging, and no two students will handle it the same way. This means you may struggle while others seem to succeed, or vice versa! Try not to get too caught up in comparisons and worry – you were admitted to business school for a reason, and you deserve to be there.

Should You Still Attend Business School?

This depends on the individual’s situation, but for me, it was a good decision to attend business school. When you’re done, you’ll find the challenges of business school have allowed you to develop a skill set that will carry you through the challenges of a career in business. Even better – you’ll have also gained an entire network of people of similar mindsets and ambition, who can help you launch the successful career that you’ve always wanted.


Want Free Money?

Simply sign up for Aspiration, and the free banking app will give you cash for free, you just relax while it gives you $100 just for opening a new debit card. There’s no catch. This bank account is legit and only takes two minutes to sign up for an account.

Learn more

The Best Apps to Save You Real Money

We are on our phone a lot, right? Wouldn't it make sense to save money with the best money saving apps?

AppAt a glancedownload
Get a $100 bonus at Aspiration when you open and fund an account with $10 or more. Then use your Aspiration debit card to make at least $1,000 worth of cumulative transactions within 60 days of account opening.
Open a new account in the next 24 hours and you could get up to $200 in free stock.
Truebill reviewTruebill
This free app delivers on its promise to save you money effortlessly. You can use it to lower your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and bill negotiations.

About the author

Megan Sulewski
Megan is a freelance writer and educator currently based in Lyon, France. A former high school teacher, she now works primarily with students at the university level. She is likewise a wanna-be coffee connoisseur and perennially-disappointed Detroit Lions fan.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

On a similar note...

Explore More On

7 Best Bank Bonuses and Promotions of April 2021

aspiration★★★★★This Company Will Give You $100 for Opening a Free Account
Boost your savings and earn up to 1.00% APY interest on your savings. Get up to 10% cash back on your purchases. Get $100 bonus when you spend your first $1,000 with your new Aspiration Plus Card.
personal capital★★★★★
The First and Only Interest Earning Crypto Account
Receive up to $250 Bitcoin bonus when you make qualifying deposits over the first 30 days. Receive up to 8.6% annually on your crypto. Join the most trusted financial services for crypto investors on the market.
personal capital★★★★★Get Up $200 in Free Stock for Joining
Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades. Get a free stock worth up to $200 when joining (must complete application). Simple, easy to use investor platform with no account minimums.
sofi★★★★★All-In-One Investing That's Easy to Use
Tired of Robinhood? Invest in stocks, ETFs, crypto, or automated investing in all one app. No commissions for stocks and ETFs. Complimentary access to SoFi Financial Planners.
personal capital★★★★★The Smart and Free Way to Manage Your Money
Take control of your finances with the perfect union of technology and highly personalized service. Get access to free online financial tools, including retirement planner, investment checkup, net worth calculator and more. Digital-first wealth management advisor with 24,000 clients in 50 states.
blooom★★★★★401K and IRA Management
Start your free 401k and IRA management now. Find and reduce hidden fees. Improve your diversification.
cit★★★★★Enjoy the Benefits of a CIT Bank Money Market Account
A CIT Bank Money Market Account helps you get more from your savings with interest rates for maximum growth. Earn over 7x the national average with high-interest rates. It now pays to open a money market account with CIT Bank.
My Millennial Guide