While the MBA is one of the most popular graduate degrees, it's not for everyone. The benefits of an MBA are obvious – increase in compensation, membership into a global network of high-achieving professionals, career acceleration, acquisition of key business skills, etc. - and well worth the investment. This is why each year, thousands of Nigerians go through an arduous process that includes taking the GMAT/GRE, writing application essays, asking for references, requesting transcripts and paying multiple fees; otherwise known as the MBA application process!

An MBA involves a significant investment of time and money. You need to be clear on if an MBA is the right choice for you, and if you can truly get what you require out of it. Total Ascent has compiled a shortlist of qualities that typify individuals that are ready for an MBA and will make the most out of it:

Clear Career Goals:

You need to be clear what your career goals are and if an MBA can support you in achieving them. Business school is fast paced, with an overload of coursework and activities crammed into a short period of time. You have little time to figure out your career plans during the program and by then, it’s too late to change plans or take full advantage of available career development resources.

A lack of focus will also prevent you from getting into business school. Admissions officers look for candidates with a clear idea of how an MBA supports their career goals, which is the reason applicants are asked to outline their career plans in the application essay. Your plans don’t have to be set in stone but you should at least have a few possible career goals and a sense for how an MBA would help you achieve them.

Quality Work Experience:

Business schools look for candidates with quality real-world business experience because this gives students a better idea of how the business world works. These students can easily connect the subject matter in class to real life experiences. Classes are interactive, involving in depth discussions and teamwork. Experienced students are more effective contributors and improve the quality of the entire learning experience, for themselves and others.

Most MBA students are in their late 20s or early 30s. However, it is not a matter of age (or length of experience) but of the quality of experience. Business schools seek individuals who bring unique perspectives and demonstrate a career consistent with leadership, influencing change and alignment with career goals. These candidates will get (and make) the most out of the MBA.

In Conclusion

The benefits of an MBA are immeasurable but only if it’s the right thing for you. A self-evaluation on these two qualities is a good place to start with answering the question.

Tosin Okojie, MBA

Tosin has an MBA from Yale University and is the CEO of Total Ascent (, a Test Preparation (GMAT/GRE/LBS Exam) and MBA Admissions Consulting company. Direct comments to