For many, the business world carries a touch of glamour. In the wake of Facebook’s initial public offering and purchase of Instagram, wannabe entrepreneurs look every day to follow in the footsteps of the latest crop of young billionaires.
But for graduate programs, it’s anything but business as usual. College debt, unemployment and other practical economic factors have changed the way prospective students look at the admissions process. The urge to follow dreams has been balanced out by caution in the face of uncertainty. As a result, some students are opting for more practical, competitive majors at lower cost schools.
Perhaps associated with this decision, business school admissions saw a drop in applications in 2011.
But the American economy has ticked upward recently, loosening spending just enough to lead prospective students to reconsider school. And since business schools teach majors that result in higher income jobs, we might see an influx of students enter based on the balance of caution regarding the current economy and optimism about its future. There are already numbers to support this scenario, as business school applications are up at a good number of schools.
If you are looking into business programs, the application increase affects you in two ways:
#1 You may have to fight against a more competitive crop to get in.
#2 You need to choose your business school carefully to make sure you are getting the practical experience you will need in your career.
So make sure you are prepared for the GMAT. The GMAT is a pivotal part of the business school admissions process. It’s also one of the parts of the admissions process you most control. You can’t change your college grades or your business experience in a limit amount of time. However, you can prepare for a test you may never have seen. Considering the GMAT is undergoing changes in 2012, now is the time to investigate what you will need to do to beat the test if you want to attend business school within the next year.
As for picking a major, remember to find something that interests you. Most business school majors are practical for the real world, so you have the luxury of exploring the full range of business interests. Starting a business and handling finance or accounting at a firm are two totally different career activities, but both can pay well and aren’t going away anytime soon. Find a major you love and choose a school with a strong reputation for teaching that skill set in a way that gets practical results.