(MS students should plan to combine milestones below and map to a 1-Year Timeline)
Tracking Your Progress
Planning for an MBA degree or MS program takes time, perseverance, and a bit of forward thinking. In the timeline below, we’ve attempted to put together the milestones which you’ll need to reach in order to successfully begin a graduate degree program.
We suggest that you download this page in order to keep track of your progress.
2 Years Out
- Does degree have value?
- Upside vs. Sacrifice (cost-benefit analysis).
- Determine whether earning an MBA/MS makes sense.
- Self Assess: Determine career path.
- Peer Review.
- Look for others who have made transition.
- The more specific the better.
Search & Information Gathering
2 Years to 18 Months Out
- Deal with transition issues.
- Check for any transition assistance resources.
- Consider timing of milestones and outside schedule.
- Make first pass on finances.
- Check on tuition assistance programs/financial aid.
- Determine how to pay for graduate education.
- Do a search on Degree Programs.
- What programs are available?
- What type of program is best?
- Where are they located?
- Are there any family/job considerations?
- What requirements exist for programs of choice?
- Identify your dream or reach school and 3-4 others you can get in.
18 Months Out
- Understand general application cycles for schools & programs.
- Research MBA/MS program timelines to determine the best time to begin.
- Find funding resources – tuition assistance, loans, scholarships, grants, internships, work-study, etc.
- Register for prerequisite or supplemental classes.
12 Months Out
- Prepare for GMAT/GRE.
- Register for the test.
- Get preparation tools.
- Understand test and how schools use it.
- Contact programs of interest.
- Visit campuses, attend information sessions.
- Consult with counselors.
- Begin application process.
9 Months Out
- Prepare application(s) and submit.
- Follow all instructions.
- Create professional look.
- Include all attachments.
- Be sure to seek financial aid.
- Explain any gaps in academic or employment record.
6 Months Out
- Market yourself.
- Seek an on-campus interview.
- Practice with an emphasis on strengths.
- Demonstrate “fit” with school.
- Stress leadership and relevant experience.
- Take advantage of connections to colleagues, alumni, etc.