Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

John Hayden

MBA: HEC Paris

For many people “doing an MBA” was always part of the plan. They have structured their career around re-entering education, ensured they have the necessary finances in place and prepared themselves for the application process.

Unfortunately for me this was never the case and the beginning of the journey turned into a bit of a blur. After working in the insurance industry for six years I believed I had carved out a strong career path. However I had spent the majority of my time in a specialist market and was eager for new challenges.

Along with having the key dilemmas: “Is this really a good idea;” “Am I going to have a job afterwards” and “What’s my girlfriend going to say,” I spent a number of months visiting universities to get an impression of what they could offer and decide where was best for me.

MBA courses are made up of a diverse group of extremely ambitious people so along with substantial professional experience and holding previous qualifications, the majority of business schools demand a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score to be considered for a place.

Over a number of months I revised for the GMAT by working on my quantitative skills and preparing for various questions in the English language section. It turned out to be about as enjoyable as a traffic jam. The GMAT takes approximately four hours and each examinee is then ranked electronically with a score and percentile group. As your scores are directly comparable to fellow test takers competition is fierce and after a hard day in the office completing two hours of mathematics revision is not normally top of my agenda.

After achieving my target score I then applied for my shortlisted universities. The pre-interview application process is all online and looks into an applicant’s motivations, career aspirations and work/personal life.

Each application form can take considerable exertion as one frets over each answer they have provided.

After a period of time universities respond and if you are successful interviews are arranged. Although interviews are always nerve racking, every university I met was extremely open and honest about the course outcomes and thus these interviews became an invaluable tool in my university selection process.

Now after a journey lasting in excess of a year I have accepted an offer from HEC Paris and looking towards the adventure continuing in September. In the mean time I just need to scrub up on my French!

Get alerts on Business school when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article