The Next Step: How to Know When You’re Ready for an MBA

There’s no crystal ball…but you’ll know when you’re ready. Sometimes at the last moment.

Helen RollA high-caliber MBA program attracts an excellent mix of talented students with diverse backgrounds. Take Helen Roll, a second-year student in Foster’s Full-time MBA Program. She graduated college considering a path into the priesthood, and then ended up in the commercial food/beverage industry where she amassed troves of on-the-job learning across business disciplines. “How do we finance the business, how do we drive continuous improvement? What about promotions and pricing?” recounts Helen. When the employer said business ownership would be the next step in her career, Helen decided she wanted to grow more and pursue different challenges.

Helen attended a Foster info session two weeks later, took the GMAT on the last possible day, and was soon immersed in her first year of MBA studies. “I already knew Foster has a highly regarded MBA program,” said Helen. I’d known plenty of Foster students out in the community. In fact, I remember being at a dinner where I was the only person without an MBA. I thought: these people are thinking about how to have a bigger impact.”

When she graduates this June, Helen is joining Accenture. Asked at interview why they should choose her, Helen said, “because I’m scrappy.” That grit and tenacity are traits found in Foster’s culture. Recruiters comment on the entrepreneurial mindset of Foster students, who are “proactive problem-solvers that aren’t afraid to take risks, fail, learn, and persevere.”

Foster has a high level of capacity for adapting and a high level of engagement. And that resilience I mentioned is one of the reasons why Foster is positioned for continued excellence.

So what would Helen say to people considering getting their MBA, at this difficult crossroads defined by COVID-19 and economic turmoil? “Well, for the end of winter quarter, and now spring quarter, we moved to a remote learning environment. But the students’ dedication, interest, engagement, and time to devote to the MBA experience has remained the same. People who are here are ‘all in’ – and they’re heading in amazing new directions.”

“You know if the moment’s right. Nobody can tell you. It’s impossible to reduce the amount of uncertainty inherent in the COVID era, but that doesn’t make a leap into business school not worth doing. Foster has a high level of capacity for adapting and a high level of engagement. And that resilience I mentioned is one of the reasons why Foster is positioned for continued excellence.”

“I hope that Foster is back on campus in the fall. But if that’s not the case, the school will apply itself to make it as good as it can be – and that dedication will lead to the best possible substitutes for recreating the out-of-classroom experience.”

And as a postscript to diving in right now, Helen adds, “just imagine learning how to face and manage this uncertainty in real time – the class of 2022 will be learning incredibly valuable skills for the post-COVID business world.”