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Don’t Let These Three Myths Stop You from Earning Your MBA by Dr. Don Martin
Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Tuesday, June 27, 2023

This is the first of a series of blogs I will be writing regarding the MBA research and application process.  They are based on my experience as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Chicago Booth.  During that time I evaluated and made decisions on over 80,000 full-time MBA applications.
This first blog focuses on a really important topic:  Some major myths that hold individuals back from pursuing their business school goals. As we all know, many employers now require a graduate degree.  While many students consider business school so they can land a stable and fulfilling job, some do not move forward because they believe one or more of the following three myths.
Myth #1 – “It’s too expensive.”
Yes, the cost of education has increased along with everything else in our world. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to get help in paying for your MBA studies so you can earn your degree with less debt.  Here are some suggestions:
  • Check with your current employer; many offer educational benefits.  However, be sure you fully understand the expectations associated with those benefits.
  • Work for the institution at which you enroll.  Get a job in admissions, development, human resources or other institutional offices, which will enable you to earn a salary and benefits that almost always include full or partial tuition coverage.
  • Apply for outside scholarships and fellowship funding. In some instances there is more available for grad students than for undergrads and it isn’t just educational institutions that offer assistance. Be sure to check out the following:
    • The U.S. Department of Education
    • Department of Education in your state of residence
    • Civic organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club, Elk’s Club, Masons, etc.
    • Religious organizations
As tuition costs rise, so usually does funding for scholarships. By combining the resources above, you can end up with a very large amount of “free” money. 
Myth #2 – “My undergraduate academic record isn’t good enough and I won’t get accepted.”
Admissions committees do not just look at grades. They look at everything in your application, including the difficulty of your undergrad degree program, the type of courses you took, letters of recommendation, essays, internships, research projects and publications, extracurricular and volunteer engagement, and work/life balance. Admissions directors are looking for reasons to bring you in, not reasons to keep you out. In addition, the further out you are from receiving your undergraduate degree, the less important your GPA will be.
If you believe your academic record is lacking, here are two tips:
  1. Explain what happened.  Did you have an unexpected illness?  Lose a loved one?  Not start out applying yourself?  Have to work and go to school at the same time?  There are understandable extenuating circumstances, and most admissions committee members will be both empathetic and understanding. 
  2. Take one or two graduate-level courses and earn an A. Dong so shows you are serious about your education and also about demonstrating what you are capable of doing academically.  It doesn’t matter if your recent courses are taken at a lesser-known university; it’s the initiative that shines.
Myth #3 – “It isn’t worth doing unless I get into a top-ranked school or program.”
There are thousands of examples of individuals who attended top business schools, yet who have failed dismally. Employers know this and when it comes right down to it, they value who you are, what you can bring to the table and the degree itself, not where you attended business school. Earning your MBA from any institution demonstrates to employers that you have what it really takes to succeed – persistence and determination.
One last point to consider:  There is absolutely no statistically reliable information that correlates your job/career success with the prestige of the business school you attended.   
Check out Dr. Don’s MBA blog series on U.S. News & World Report: https://www.usnews.com/topics/author/dr_don_martin?offset=50  
Be sure to check out Dr. Don’s book, “Road Map for Graduate Study, A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students,” right here on the GSRM website. For a reduced price CLICK HERE, go to The Book page, scroll down, click on the Order Now box, and use discount code GSRM.
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Name: Dr. Donald C. Martin
Group: Grad School Road Map
Dateline: Chicago, IL United States
Direct Phone: 773-549-7639
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