A vast majority of people are not clear why they intend to pursue an MBA course. The bottom line, though, is that the stakes are much higher if you plan to do it at a later stage in your career: The course fee and opportunity cost is higher, and so is the pressure from work and family. It’s difficult to start at an entry-level position after you have spent eight or 10 years in the industry. Compared to someone doing it earlier in their life, you need much higher level of clarity as you spend more time nurturing your career.

Don’t burn bridges

Most people pursuing an executive MBA end up working in the same industry/sector. This is the best way to leverage their work experience and learning. In addition, it’s difficult for institutes to help with the placement process because very few students are ready to settle for entry-level or standard roles at that stage in their careers. Thus, it becomes very important for job seekers to leverage their relationships in previous companies and the industry to land a job that values their experience and education. It is always prudent to inform your employer as early as possible. This would help them plan your replacement. Make sure you finish your projects and, if possible, offer help in hiring and/or training your replacement.

Study hour: The stakes are much higher if you plan to go back to class mid-career.

If you plan to pursue a part-time MBA course, you will have to juggle workplace issues and family commitments with classes, assignments and exams. Discuss your plans with your employer well in advance. Ask them if you could be moved to a less demanding project so that you get time to attend classes. It might get difficult if your supervisor isn’t supportive and expects you to be in office for 10-12 hours every day.

For instance, a mid-level executive enrolled in a part-time management programme and working with a start-up will find it tough to juggle classes with work demands.

Or if your company is going through a high-growth phase, you will be expected to put in much longer hours and, hence, not be able to attend classes or even take time out to study after-work hours.

Get your spouse’s support

Whatever the reason for you take the plunge, don’t forget that this is a major decision in your life. Chances are that you may have to move to a different city to pursue your education. Under the circumstances, it is important that your spouse is supportive of this move. His/her patience and understanding can make the situation easier on you and allow you to pursue your goals. This is probably one of the most important points to consider. It might not be a good idea to spend time, money and effort if your spouse is not supportive of this change.

Celebrate diversity

Two years in a business school offers unmatched diversity. You will have a wide range of graduates, from commerce, economics, architecture, medicine, pharmacy and engineering, as batchmates. Working with them on projects would be a great learning experience. It’ll make you understand and appreciate perspectives that you were never aware of. Don’t let your time in B-school be all about getting that degree. Spend time learning from people you are not likely to interact with in your professional life.

Tarun Matta is the founder of www.iimjobs.com , an exclusive job portal for MBA graduates from IIMs and other premier business schools in India.

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