Tag Archives | post-grad

Career Success: 5 Great Reasons to do an MBA

Image by Jeremy Beadle, unsplash.com

Image by Jeremy Beadle, unsplash.com

Success isn’t something people stumble upon by chance. It’s an intersection of skill, knowledge, and willpower – an endless supply of it. How you go about building willpower is up to you, but in order to build a solid foundation of skill and knowledge, an MBA degree is unequivocally crucial.

But with the rising costs of tuition and the extra two years of your time you cannot get back, it begs the question, “Should I spend more of my resources to get an MBA degree?” Below are five great reasons to pursue a Masters in Business Administration:

Salary Boost

There aren’t many options when you want to bump up your salary, but having an MBA under your belt is definitely one of them. Median salary for professionals with an MBA degree is notably higher compared to non-MBA professionals working with the same title and space. Professionals working for a government agency or a non-profit institution with an MBA degree can boost their respective salaries by up to 50 percent. Look at the mid-range salaries of possible careers you can enter with an MBA and you’ll see that there is actual financial merit to it. Increasing your salary from $35,000 per year to $70,000 can easily cover the initial investments you made in your MBA education. Currently, the estimated cost of an MBA degree at the best colleges in the country is around $110,000.

Better Professional Opportunities

This reason is obviously connected with the first one. While not always the case, MBA graduates are often able to apply and get hired for high level management titles, or are promoted to such high ranks after graduating from an MBA program. This leads to a higher salary, among other things. Approximately 70 percent of MBA graduates across the world are hired to become senior managers or a part of the company’s board of directors. Higher level management positions do make a lot of money, but remember, they’re also accompanied by a higher degree of responsibility.

New Knowledge and Skill Set

According to this blog post by AIB, for those less motivated by money and more intrigued by new branches of knowledge and skills, an MBA degree can absolutely live up to expectations. The coursework is designed to unlock a more profound level of understanding and skills related to business administration. Pursuing an MBA degree gets you out of your comfort zone and away from the repetition and stagnation that comes with working in an office. It exposes you to the latest management techniques and allows you to apply them in real-world settings.

Improved Business Connections

By attending an MBA program at an established university, you open the door to new networking opportunities. You get to know and converse with classmates and professors, many of whom will be holding future senior management positions. Maintaining good relations with them can put your name in the HR departments of other companies.

Holistic Business World View

By furthering your career in the business world through an MBA degree, you gain an expanded view of the industry’s various interwoven parts. Your problem-solving skills are honed as you continuously challenge yourself with real-world business problems. More knowledge also makes you more confident in and receptive of the continuously shifting environment. These skills of being able to view the “big picture” and remain calm during stressful moments not only come as an asset to you, but to any prospective company who hires you.

The cost and time requirements to earn credits for an MBA degree are minute compared to the many benefits the education and experience provides. If you are very serious about succeeding in your business career, a Masters in Business Administration is the gold standard to display your competence and value as a professional.

This article was contributed by guest author Jim Raychrudhury.

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How To Get Ahead On Your Grad School Apps

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

Image by StartupStockPhotos, pixabay.com

When you’re a high school student applying to college, there’s a lot to keep track of — but a lot of the work can be done in a very natural way. Teachers provide reminders and suggested deadlines, parents are often more hands-on, and in many cases there are even counselors who can help with every step of the process. In other words: it’s difficult, but there’s a lot of assistance available for students who want to take advantage of it.

When you’re a college student or graduate applying to grad school, it’s a whole different ballgame. Students who fit this description are more independent and more mature, and as a result they’re expected do more of the work on their own. That’s not to say there isn’t any help available, but the responsibility tends to be more on the student’s shoulders to seek it out.

If you happen to be a student in the midst of discovering all this, here are some tips on how to get out in front of graduate school applications and make the process as smooth (and hopefully successful!) as it was when you were in high school.

First and foremost, go after your recommendations as early as possible. Professors are very busy people, and if you feel one is worth securing a recommendation from, chances are other students feel the same way. As soon as you know you’re applying to schools or you have specific schools and programs to which you need recommendations sent, contact any professors (or coaches, work supervisors, etc.) you may want to write for you. This gives them plenty of time to do the best possible job and get the recommendations in on time. As for choosing which professors to contact, the best tip is to choose teachers who know what you can do, as recommended by U.S. News. This advice goes the same when applying to college or grad school, and it’s important to understand properly: you don’t necessarily need the most popular teachers or the ones you enjoyed the most success with. Go for professors you’ve gotten to know, who understand and appreciate your work ethic, competence, and any relevant goals you may have.

You’ll need the recommendations no matter where you apply (though the specific number of recs required may vary), which is why that’s a good step to get out of the way right off the bat. But when you delve into the actual applications themselves, one of the first steps worth considering is to secure a coach or advisor if possible. Depending on your college, you may have a very helpful career center available as a valuable resource during the process. But even so, there’s nothing wrong with getting some more personal assistance and instruction. Menlo Coaching points to the numerous ways in which a professional coach can actually help you to organize your application and address each step properly. From choosing the right schools and programs to writing essays, designing resumes, and practicing interviews, a coach can help you to present yourself as effectively as possible throughout the process.

Finally, you’ll need to figure out how to nail the interviews. As stated, a coach can help with the preparation in this regard, but there’s ultimately something very personal about going through interviews, and in most cases this will be the experience that differs most from the undergraduate application process. Browsing through generic interview tips online you’re likely to come across all kinds of advice regarding how to dress, why you should make strong eye contact and be punctual, etc. But frankly, those are mostly common sense practices related to etiquette. Beyond how you present yourself, the actual content of an interview is extremely important, too, and requires more preparation. USA Today offers a wonderful guide to getting ready for an interview in which a number of the best bits of preparation are outlined. You’ll want to research the program you’re applying to and the careers it may lead to, figure out the individual school’s interview process, rehearse common questions, and be ready to articulate exactly why you’re interested in that program (not grad school in general). Addressing all of these ideas will help you to present yourself as an intelligent, disciplined, and goal-oriented candidate.

Every application carries its own demands, and each program is looking for different things in applicants. But by heeding these tips, you can set yourself up to put together competitive applications. That doesn’t make it an easy thing to do, but in this case preparation is more than half the battle.

This article was contributed by guest author Shannon Leonard.

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Thinking of Furthering Your Education? 3 Ways You Can Actually Do It

Image by Pat Quinn on Flickr

Image by Pat Quinn, Flickr

When you have entered the workforce, you may feel at first that you’ve “arrived” at your career destination. However, further education can provide you with skills and knowledge to take your career to another level. Sometimes skills will be directly tied to the work you do, while at other times they may be more general. For whatever reasons you decide to further your education, here are 3 ways you can actually do it.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is a catch-all phrase that may include the kinds of online coursework just mentioned, but could also include other types of classes. Many universities and community colleges offer real-time continuing education classes for adult learners. Some may be tied to degree programs, while others are stand-alone classes for personal enrichment or to provide skill “upgrades.” For example, you might take a course in computer skills to stay updated on the latest operating systems or programs that will help you at work.

Take an Online Class or Complete an Online Degree

Online education is opening new doors for adult workers, whether you want to complete your bachelor’s, pursue a civil engineering master’s degree, or take a few courses to increase skills in a given area. Online learning platforms provide flexibility. You don’t need to leave your job to pursue a degree, though if you take courses at an accelerated pace, you may want to step your work hours down to accommodate your commitment. The choice of pacing is up to you, which is the main attraction to online courses. Since many online programs allow you to pay one course at a time, you can make this option fit your budget. Some employers encourage workers in online degree programs by offering forms of tuition reimbursement for classes tied directly to skills needed for the job.

Certificate or Diploma Programs

Whether you go with an online or “brick and mortar” option, you might find yourself wanting to pursue a certificate or diploma in addition to the associate’s or bachelor’s degree you have. This can be especially helpful if you work in a field that has areas of specialization. For instance, a nurse might decide to pursue a certificate in pediatric nursing or an accountant might want to become an expert in tax accounting skills. There are different certificates of various degrees of authority within almost every vocation. Make sure you are selecting one that is recognized by your company as valuable.

Whether you decide to take courses for personal enrichment, to learn a specific job-related skill or just to gain further knowledge or skills to advance your career, there are many paths you can take. Consider following these paths as it can help you better yourself and your station.

This article was contributed by guest author Meghan Belnap.

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4 Essential Steps That Prepare You for Law School

Image by Tori Rector on Flickr

Image by Tori Rector on Flickr

The study of law might prepare students for the actual practice of law, or it might prepare them for using the legal understanding and concepts they learn in other professional business capacities. These essential steps in preparing for law school admission depend on whether you intend in obtaining a law license or not.

Undergraduate Degree

Every candidate for law school admission must have an undergraduate degree along with a suitable grade point average when considered with other factors. Virtually every undergraduate student is a pre-law student. Your major is irrelevant. Ask around any first year law school class and you’ll find that law schools accept candidates with degrees ranging from accounting to zoology.

LSAT

If you’re planning on attending an ABA accredited law school, a suitable score on the Law School Admissions Test is required. The LSAT is a standardized, four-hour examination consisting of five parts. It’s administered four times a year at designated locations across the United States and selected locations in a growing number of countries. Because test takers are competing on a national level, many seek to gain an advantage by taking private courses preparing them for taking the LSAT.

Application

Law schools have widely ranging criteria for admission. Along with college grade point average and LSAT scores, ABA accredited law schools like Champlain College also consider personal and professional backgrounds of candidates. Champlain offers a master’s degree in law online for those who seek to supplement their education and work experience without the intent of practicing law. The LSAT isn’t required for this program.

Think Ahead

Just like undergraduate studies, law school takes time and money. There are multiple requirements and strict deadlines involved in the application and admission process. If you’re planning on getting a law license, start thinking about the LSAT at least a year in advance. Take the admissions test early. If you want to start law school in September, you’ll probably have to take the LSAT in December of the previous year. Financial arrangements can be made along the way.

With or without a law license, once you’re a student of the law, you’ll remain a student of the law. It’s a fascinating and constantly changing field with new statutes, regulations and cases that you’ll need to review, consider and stay on top of. Strong professional and personal growth will follow.

This article was contributed by guest author Anica Oaks.

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What is the LSAT?

Image by TMAB2003, Flickr

Image by TMAB2003, Flickr

The LSAT has been one of the major hurdles to all law school applicants since its inception in 1948. Each year over one hundred thousand students test their skills against the latest exam the Law School Admission Council has created. So what exactly is the LSAT?

The Basics

To begin with, the Law School Admission Test is a standardized and now computerized exam that is administered strictly in English. The LSAT tests an applicant’s reasoning, analytical and critical thinking skills. Therefore, the exam does not require any specialized knowledge in the field of law or any other field for that matter. All questions are accessible to the level of the general public. The LSAT is administered four times per year in the months of February, June, September, and December. Note that a student may not take the LSAT more than three times in any two year period. Compared to other graduate program entrance exams, LSAT registration costs a reasonable $165 in Canada and $170 in the United States. There can be other fees, such as those associated with changing the date or location of your exam once it has been booked. Lastly, the LSAT runs around four hours in length, which includes one ten to fifteen minute break.

The Test

The format of the LSAT is broken into six sections that take thirty-five minutes each. Presented in no particular order, the LSAT’s first five sections use the format of multiple choice questions and these sections can be one of three types: Logical Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Analytical Reasoning (or Logic Games). There are always two Logical Reasoning sections, one Reading Comprehension section, and one Analytical Reasoning section. The leftover section can be any one of the three types.

It is important to note that one of these five sections is not scored. This is because it is an experimental section that the developers of the test use to try out new questions. Unfortunately, students are not told which section will go unscored.

Both Logical Reasoning sections consist of approximately 25 questions, each of which has been based on a very short argumentative text, such as a letter to the editor. Common topics for these questions include economics, business, health, and the environment.

In the Reading Comprehension section, students will face approximately 25-28 questions based on four different prompts. Three of these prompts will be single short passages (~450 words) and one will be a Comparative Reading prompt which presents two short passages (~450 words combined) that are related. Topics for this section are often drawn from the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities.

In the last type of section, Analytical Reasoning, students are faced with four sets of five to seven questions. These questions are based on four brief texts (~120 words) that describe a scenario and certain rules that apply to it.

The sixth and final section of the LSAT is a Writing Exercise. Students are presented with a prompt in which someone is making a decision between two choices of action. Each choice is governed by two criteria and students must write a concise essay arguing in favour of one choice or the other. This section of the LSAT is also not scored, but it is still evaluated by law schools as a sample of a student’s writing ability.

Scoring

LSAT scores are equalized onto a scale that ranges from 120 to 180 and uses single-digit intervals. The average LSAT score is 150, with 58 questions being answered correctly. It should be mentioned that all questions are weighted equally and that there are no deductions for incorrect answers.

So what score should you be aiming for? In Canada, average LSAT scores for applicants range from the low 160s to the high 160s, while in the United States average scores for the country’s best law programs are in the high 160s to the low 170s.

Ultimately, the LSAT is just another way for law schools to judge the academic merit of applicants and predict their success in the first year of law school.

Other Sources

Video – About the LSAT

Want to learn about other tests?

Useful Tips for Students Applying for an MBA in Canada

Image by University of Salford, Flickr

Image by University of Salford, Flickr

An MBA degree is considered to be the ultimate ticket to success. It is a highly coveted qualification in the realm of business management and can give your career a major boost. However, pursuing an MBA isn’t as easy as some students think it to be. The following article will offer advice to students who are researching admission to MBA colleges in Canada. The given tips will help you join a respectable business school and productively utilize your time spent there.

A management program in Canada can offer a plethora of opportunities, boost your earning potential and help expand your network. It also increases your employability across the globe. Those students who wish to study management courses in Canada and succeed in life can seek guidance from the following tips.

Chalk Out a Plan and Set Career Goals

An MBA aspirant must begin his/her professional journey by deciding where to go. Young professionals who are seeking to build a strong career or who wish to change their career path can opt for an MBA. But before you make up your mind, it is better that you define your long-term as well as short-term career goals. You should first decide where you want to be in the future and consider the different kinds of jobs and industries where you can seek employment after completing your course. Knowing what you want will help you prepare better and ultimately strengthen your applications.

While targeting business schools, you must ensure that the companies you wish to work for will come to the select colleges for campus recruitment. If they don’t, it is wiser to reconsider your choice. It is a drawback to study in a college where your dream company does not visit for recruitment. Most business schools judge your application based on the following criteria – 70 per cent and above in graduation, GMAT scores, TOEFL, group discussions and personal interviews. A candidate must also have relevant work experience.

Take a Quantitative Course

There are certain aspirants who may not have quantitative knowledge due to a non-commerce background. Such applicants can put in extra efforts by taking up additional coursework. You can take additional classes for finance, calculus and statistics. It does not matter where you take these classes; you may take them online or join a community college. If you have a particular management institute in mind, you can check the course subjects with them and seek recommendation so that you are prepared for the quantitative tryst of the MBA program.

Socialize to Build Long-Term Networks

Interestingly, most MBAs reveal that the network they developed at their business schools are the most valuable and fruitful. You should begin building associations right at the beginning of your program. It is even better if you start doing so while applying for management colleges. Many MBA institutes conduct networking events to allow potential candidates to interact with school representatives. You can move on from collecting the basic information and interact with the guests present. View it as an opportunity for connecting with the MBA community that you shall be joining for life. Most of these relations will go beyond the admissions procedure and classroom bonding and will eventually help you in the long run when you are looking for new jobs.

Be Confident and Believe in Yourself

As you come across other MBA candidates hailing from business backgrounds, you may begin to second-guess your caliber. When you meet an applicant from a commerce background (like a BBA), it is evident that they will know more as they have already studied the same concepts for their graduation. However, what you need to do is stop thinking and focus on your own strengths, skills and attributes. Tell yourself that you will be an asset to the MBA community and are meant to excel in this field. All management institutes in Canada receive applications by people from different walks of life, but that only makes them distinct and special because MBA colleges encourage diversity.

Like you, there will be several more candidates who are striving to get into a reputed Canadian business school. Do not fear competition or lose hope. If you think business management is your calling in life, begin to feel more confident and aware. Only then will you be able to prove yourself and further impress the admission panel at later stages of admission.

This article was contributed by Devika Arora.