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December 5, 2000

How to...Figure Out if You're MBA Material

Classic suits for a day at the office

Photo Credit: Joshua Jordan

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A master's in business administration (MBA) can take a career to a new level of success, but is it right for you? "An MBA expands your skill set and your network of contacts, and it significantly increases your long-term earning potential," says Dawna Clarke, director of admissions for Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, rated the top business school in the country by both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes.

She's not kidding: According to Forbes, the average pre-MBA salary for members of Tuck's class of 2000 was $54,000. Post-MBA, that figure shot up to $165,000. Not too shabby, especially considering that an MBA can be useful in almost any field. "It's an all-purpose degree," says Anna Ivey, an Orlando, FL-based career counselor and admissions coach. That's because B-school teaches skills that are universally applicable. "During your first year, you'll probably take a broad mix of accounting, finance, marketing, strategy and economics classes," says Elizabeth Freedman, author of The MBA Student's Job-Seeking Bible.

For those who survive year one ("It's like boot camp: designed to test your limits," says Ivey), most do an intensive summer internship and move on to more advanced study in the second year, building on the real-world corporate experience they gained as an intern.

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