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Who Makes a Good MBA Student?

Aug 10, 2021
Hardworking current and aspiring business professionals have what it takes to be successful MBA students, and the results are worth it

By Arial Starks

If you’re considering an MBA degree, one of your most pressing questions may be, “Am I a good fit for this program?” If you are a hardworking business professional looking to expand your skill set or simply desire to be a business professional, you already have most of what it takes to be a good MBA student. As Vanderbilt Business MBA Associate Dean Sue Oldham puts it, “anyone and everyone is an ideal MBA candidate.”

Can I earn an MBA while working? 

Who makes a good MBA student?

Sue Oldham

While some people can manage the commitment of being a full-time MBA student, that is not always a reality for MBA candidates. Balancing the course load with work responsibilities may prove to be more challenging for part-time MBA students, but working through school offers the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to your real-world job.

On the other hand, a full-time program offers a chance for students to build team skills in a relatively risk-free environment.

“You are put on teams, you are working with teams, which is very similar to a work situation, where you don’t get to pick your co-workers. To have 2 years, and having what I call a trial run of how to exercise team skills, is so invaluable. It can be hard to learn by putting yourself out there at work,” said Oldham.

What educational background do I need to be an MBA student? 

A common misconception about going to business school is that you have to have a business background to be successful; this could not be further from the truth. The MBA is a transformational, broad-based degree that allows you to customize your learning experience. You can explore a variety of functions and industries and specialize in areas where you want to dive deeper.

“It’s almost like a practice ground for the working world, whether you choose a corporate or non-profit path. It’s just the basic building foundation: the skill set. You can use what you learn in an MBA program in any industry,” said Oldham.

If you don’t have any experience in some of the fundamental first-year courses such as accounting, finance, and statistics, an MBA program might present some additional challenges, but that doesn’t make you any less qualified to pursue the degree. Whether you are a full- or part-time student, the work is going to be a full-time job in itself, but nothing worth having tends to come easy.

Vanderbilt is a top-25 school, and it’s MBA program is taught by world class faculty. Most graduates would argue the tassel is definitely worth the hassle when you walk away from the program with more tools in your toolbox and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

“There’s just so many doors that are opened. I always say for me personally, there were doors that were opened that I didn’t even know were doors, because I had no idea,” said Oldham.

Click here to learn more about Vanderbilt’s MBA program.

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