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December 5, 2000

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

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Want to Take the Plunge?

Before you start applying, take stock of yourself: For the top programs, stellar GMAT scores and an A-studded undergrad transcript are musts. Those short on quantitative coursework (accounting, etc.) should brush up on basic skills with a night-school class, says Clarke, who also recommends at least two years of exposure to the working world before applying. "Working lets you experience managerial dilemmas and gain hands-on knowledge of an industry," she says. Finally, think hard: Are you really ready — mentally and financially — for more college? B-school can run you up to six figures, but there are a lot of loans and financial-aid options out there, and the return on your investment can be enormous. Do a "college tour" and visit campuses, spending time with students. "Make sure you fit with the culture," says Freedman. "If you don't like a school's vibe, you won't get as much out of it." Keep in mind, many programs maintain tight relationships with their alumni, who in turn give great jobs to their fellow alumni — that could include you!

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