Considering an MBA? Our Advice for Career Switchers

career switchers

“Just about everyone pursuing an MBA is switching careers; it’s just a matter of to what degree.”

—UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Are you looking to gain the skills and network to launch your career in a new direction? One of the primary benefits of earning an MBA for career switchers is gaining valuable skills in areas such as leadership, finance, marketing, strategy, and operations.  Of course, there’s also the potential for long-term income and financial stability. While business schools are quite familiar with applicants using the degree to pivot, there are some things to keep in mind as you position your MBA candidacy.

Curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Career Switchers from Non-Traditional Backgrounds

Does your undergraduate degree or work experience fall into the non-traditional category? Then make sure you clearly convey your long-term career goals within your application and essays. Explain in detail how you have concluded that an MBA would help you further your professional aspirations.

Emphasize aspects of your work experience related more closely to the new career path you wish to follow.  Or, call attention to extracurricular activities that clearly support your career shift.

Elite business schools welcome applicants from the humanities. But, unlike their business major peers, these candidates will need to prove that their minimal academic experience in quantitative subjects won’t be a hindrance once they hit those core courses.

Your GMAT or GRE score is the obvious piece of the puzzle, indicating your ability to handle MBA-level coursework. So, allow yourself plenty of time to study for the exam. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT, the average amount of study needed to achieve a score between 600 and 690 is 92 hours. Meanwhile, top scorers typically spend 120+ hours preparing for the exam.

Partner with Stacy Blackman’s best-in-class GMAT and GRE experts and increase your score significantly. Check out our test prep services here.

If you need an added boost, take additional college-level math courses to demonstrate your quant proficiency. “By showing the committee that you are aware of the hurdles you face—and that you have a plan to overcome them—you will make yourself an excellent candidate,” Kenan-Flagler advises.

Maximize Your Time at B-School

Once you’re in business school, you have the opportunity to see how you fit in that new industry through coursework, student groups, internships, or networking with alums.

Self-reflection and exploration are key components of the MBA experience. Students have a chance to sample various fields and functions without making any firm commitments.

Embarking on a new career path with a freshly minted MBA tucked under your arm isn’t just about new knowledge acquired in the classroom. It’s about leveraging your existing experience with enhanced skills, and even more so, it’s about making the most of personal relationships.

All people, classes, activities, etc., in an MBA program will catapult you into a whole new sphere. You’ll leave with new ideas that help facilitate career change in ways you would’ve never thought of before.

Business school demands a huge investment of your time, energy, and finances. Make an airtight case to the admissions committee for why you want to go into this new field. Show that you know what the industry requires, the challenges you expect to encounter, and convey all previous experiences that demonstrate you have the transferable skills to make this switch.

Chicago Booth has an array of personal stories from career switchers who used the MBA to pivot into new industries. Read their stories for more information and inspiration as you think through your future career path.


Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs. From our All-In Partnership to interview prep, essay editing, resume review, and much more, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant. 

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Wharton, Booth and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

Meet Kim, who was an Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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