B-School Admissions – How is an MBA different from an undergrad course?

MBA - Business School - StudycopterMany an applicant has wondered about the differences between an MBA and a top-tier undergraduate program.  Considering the considerable expense in getting an MBA-both in terms of time and money-is the MBA experience markedly different from the years spent as an undergraduate?

A graduate degree experience, especially an MBA, is designed to enable students to gain real-world, hands-on ‘business’ skills to make an impact and lead change in their post-MBA occupations. As a result of this narrow focus, business schools spend considerable time and energy in devising and constantly updating their curricula to keep pace with market demands.  

As an MBA candidate, you will see yourself indulging in exploratory activities to enable your developing a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, your biases, and your leadership potential-attributes whichwill be invaluable as you progress through your career.  Classroom based, structured learning methods that one typically experiences in an undergraduate environment are often eschewed for unstructured learning methodologies such as cases, workshops, alumni-talks, games, learning teams,simulations etc.  As a result of these non-traditional methods, students stay engaged, learn quicker, and retain knowledge better.  Also, business schools are often more nimble-footed than their college counterparts so they have a greater propensity to adopt leading practices than other educational institutions.

Often, your MBA classmates bring rich and varied experiences to class from their past endeavors-an aspect that is markedly different from a fresh-from-high-school college environment.  Interactions with them enable you to broaden your perspective and learn from situations that you wouldn’t have had a chance to explore otherwise.  Also, smaller, intimate classes foster a more holistic, peer-centric learning environment as compared to one-size-fits-all, core-undergraduate courses, engendering a richer sharing of knowledge and perspectives-something that is often missing from undergraduate studies

Business school alumni are often more intimately connected with their alma matter than college alums and as a result of this closeness, alums interact extensively with and mentor fresh MBA-grads.  These alumni connections are extremely valuable in not just finding job opportunities but also in long-term career planning and mentorship to navigate the post-MBA world.

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