What Program is Best for Me as an Early Career Candidate? (Part 2 of a 3 part series)

Congratulations to all of the Round 1 admits, and good luck to everyone who applied Round 2! A few weeks ago, I posted a few questions I think every early career candidate should ask themselves before applying to an MBA program. As you consider which school is right for an MBA, now is a great time to turn the tables and ask key questions of the programs you’re considering. Here are three I think are critically important:


  1. How strong are the career opportunities for early career candidates?

This is a critical question for any MBA program for an early career candidate. At top MBA programs, your classmates will be intelligent, driven and have more professional experience than you. At Booth, I was invited to interview at top firms for both consultant and brand management roles When you go back to the employment report, it’s clear that the early career candidates that enroll at Booth aren’t disadvantaged in the recruiting process.


  1. How can I contribute to the school?

As I hope we’ve made obvious on this blog, Chicago Booth has an incredibly strong culture of giving back to the school. As a younger student, it can sometimes feel daunting to try and lead people 5-10 years older than you. At another school, this may be a problem, but at Booth, the humility of the student body prevents this from being awkward. For example, over the past few weeks, I’ve been helping 1st year students as they polish their resumes and get ready for recruiting. Rather than blow me off, people are incredibly receptive to your advice and eager for your help. Additionally, I’m currently the TA for Competitive Strategy, which again indicates that work experience isn’t a make-or-break aspect for success.


  1. Does the school offer enough diversity to explore multiple interests?

Understanding your potential path is critically important but with about 40 working years in front of me, so is understanding other potential paths. Next year I’ll be a consultant, and I’m excited and ready for the opportunity. On the other hand, the way I feel today may not be how I feel ten or twenty years from now, and you can only get an MBA once. As an early career candidate, you should make sure the program you select lets you understand everything that’s out there. One way Booth does this is through the flexible curriculum, allowing me to explore multiple functions and industries, while also allowing me to dive deeper on the skills that will help me most in the coming years. One other thing to keep in mind as a younger MBA is that we have more opportunities to take risks. I’m currently preparing an entry to the New Venture Challenge to gain a better understanding of the entrepreneurial process, even if that path isn’t in my immediate future.

Again, congratulations to all of the Round 1 admits (we hope to see you all at your First Day next month) and good luck to all of the Round 2 applicants! Look for my final post on this topic soon, where I’ll provide some tips to early career candidates who are considering applying to an MBA program Round 3 or next year.

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