Often, we receive questions from MBA candidates who have completed their applications and are now wondering what to do with their time.  Is it OK to quit my job now and travel?  I was offered a new job; should I take it even though I may be leaving for business school in six months?  My company has taken a down turn; should I leave and just spend my time volunteering?  I may go into finance; should I take the CFA exam before beginning school?

There’s no wrong answer here.  Here are a few tips to help you make the best decision for you:

Are you certain that you’re going to business school next year?

If you’re still waiting for an admissions decision, don’t quit your day job just yet!  As you know, you can’t be certain of being accepted to any top business school, even if you’re deserving, and even if you’ve been invited to interview. If you end up on the waitlist, you’ll want to show the admissions committee that you’re continuing to progress in your career.  And if you end up being rejected, it will be much harder for you to find a new job (or reapply to business school) without a job.

What’s the best next step for your professional (or personal) development?

If you’re no longer growing in your current job, and a new job offer falls into your lap that—even for six months—will bring you closer to your career goals, then take it. (Provided that you’re honest with the new company about your intentions and can navigate an early departure without burning bridges.) If studying for the Series 6 exam before b-school will propel you forward in your career, then go for it. Your advanced finance knowledge will make you a more valuable member of the class, which of course will please your target schools.  However, if you’re still unsure whether you plan to pursue a finance career, it may not be worth your efforts just yet.  Use your judgment.  Just don’t make big decisions with the sole intention of impressing the admissions committee. As long as your choices are linked to your goals, they will be perceived favorably by admissions, and will benefit you as well.

Can you afford to forgo a paycheck?

If you have already been accepted to business school and can afford to do so, then by all means, leave your job a little bit early and take the world by storm. This is a fantastic time to travel the world—which is not only enjoyable on a personal level, but also broadens your perspective and will make you a more valuable member of the class.  Consider organizations you can volunteer for, music or cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, foreign language immersion in another country, coursework that will help prepare you for business school, or perhaps a combination thereof.  Another great idea for career-switchers is to use this time to pursue an internship in your target industry—which can help you tremendously in your future recruiting efforts.  Whichever path you choose, make it the right one for you, and enjoy every minute of it.

[For personalized advice on MBA admissions consulting, please contact us at info@shineadmissions.com]

© Hillary Schubach, February 20, 2013  10:35am MT