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Inside the MBA: The Preparations

Visas, housing, cost... Learn about what are the preparations for an MBA outside with columnist Andrea Beer

You have been accepted into the MBA of your dreams and have already started to prepare for in a short time to start this new phase. The preparations are many, but the process is much more simple than imagined. Entering with the student visa application, for example, takes a few hours and the university will help you throughout the process. In the case of Kellogg, and from what I know of other schools also, the support site even has a to-do-list with all the steps and deadlines for you not to get lost. As I said the other day, a future colleague, you just follow the instructions and do everything on automatic. Even choosing where to live, which is complicated even when the change is district and not of the country, it becomes easier with the help of a group of friends who formed on facebook. The majority of schools also offers subsidized housing. You need to apply and the criteria vary, but the information are very clear on the websites of each one of them.

Inside the MBA: The Preparations

In addition to all the bureaucracy of the change, the period between knowing that you have been admitted and the beginning of the classes itself involves still other settings: Apply for scholarships or do a financing? When I stop working? Go on vacation before and I take the opportunity to make a backpack? As money is important, especially when you will stay for two years without receiving a salary, my suggestion is to start by answering the first question. An MBA course in schools of north american and european costs around US$60 thousand per year and have a duration of one or two years, depending on the school. This value should be summed for the values of housing, food, insurance, among other daily expenses. The total cost could reach$100 billion annually.

If in the past this type of course was restricted to a few brazilian funded by their own employer, today there are other options. The student finance, for example, is very common in the United States and the rate is much lower than the interest that we are used to here in Brazil. On average, is between 6% and 7% a year and you get to pay the benefits within six months after the end of the course. The procedure to apply for the financing is simple. Simply fill out the form and, in some cases, it is necessary to send the copy of bank statement.

Another option is scholarships. Almost all the business schools in u.s. have a system of scholarships in its executive education programs. Usually the incentives are partial, but they help to cover part of the costs. According to a survey of Bloomberg, of the students who were doing an MBA at Harvard in 2012, for example, 47% had some type of financial incentive offered by the institution. This year, Ross school of business at the University of Michigan, has awarded grants of 30% to a large part of the brazilians allowed. In the case of Michigan, it is not necessary to apply for the scholarship. In other schools, you need to apply and in this time a good GMAT, a record of success and proof that you do not have the resources to pay for the course are required. Entities such as the Foundation Study and the Institute Ling are also good options.

After you set how you will pay for the course, it is time to decide when you will move. The summer course for foreigners is mandatory at some schools, as in the MIT but at others it is optional, as is the case with Kellogg. If you choose to do the course, probably you will begin a month before the regular classroom beginning in July. In my class we are only four brazilians in a class of 35 students. The other allowed or are mochilando the world or still did not stop working. In reality, a large proportion of students from MBAs to take advantage of the months that precede the start of classes to travel for a long period of time. Asia is one of the favorite destinations. The idea is to relax before starting the new phase. When I heard of this “custom” almost cancelled my enrollment in the ACE (an acronym for the course of the summer of Kellogg). But I changed my mind when I saw that this was not the only time that I would be able to get to know other countries and other cultures.

All schools offer the possibility of exchange for one semester, they all have lessons about the business culture of other countries, which include trips of 15 days for a given region and, at the end of the course, you can negotiate with your new employer to a later start. This is quite common in consulting. One of my friends decided to spend three months travelling the world before returning to the“real world”. The course ended in may and he will only start working in October.

But before you conclude that the MBA can be a sabbatical of quality, remember: there are high costs involved and it required a certain level of dedication to do well after the course. And, as my mother often reminds me, the end goal is not the travel itself, but to live intensely with people with backgrounds very different from my own, to have an international experience of quality, to seek solutions to concrete problems and test theories in the classroom, and then apply them in my day to day as a manager. Good, in this Thursday, July 18, embarco to Chicago. The classes of the summer course will begin on Wednesday and you can follow here if the reality is matching up to my too high expectations. Wish me luck!





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