Tips and Advice to get you started on your path.

The more informed you are about the phases of your graduate degree journey, the more confident you will be.

Considering a Specialized Master’s: It’s Not Too Early to Plan Ahead

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The end of your undergraduate study is in sight. As you look ahead to the future, do you have a plan for how to best set yourself up for success? In particular, pursuing a specialized master’s degree in business soon after getting your bachelor’s degree is an exciting opportunity to consider.

Specialized master’s programs provide in-depth knowledge in a specific business function, such as accounting, finance or data analytics, and can help you capitalize on the momentum of undergrad to advance your career more quickly.

In contrast to more traditional MBA programs, these programs were created by business schools to respond to market needs—the specialties offered are in fast-growing fields that are expected to remain in high demand. Most are meant to complement your undergrad degree by providing specialized skills that will help you land a job more quickly and at a higher starting salary.

Is this popular degree option appealing to you? Here are some ways to get the ball rolling, so you will be ready for the prospect of business school sooner:

Build your business knowledge.

To help figure out the business field that interests you most, be sure to take at least introductory levels of courses like accounting and finance. Some more technical degree options, such as business analytics, will require a strong background in that field, so you’ll want to look into specialized master’s program prerequisites and plan your remaining undergraduate coursework accordingly.

Also consider related internships to help you explore your options and boost your application, especially if you plan to head directly into business school after graduation (which is entirely possible with specialized master’s, as they don’t have the same work requirements as MBA programs).

Find your perfect fit.

Your research will likely begin with overall business school reputation, but you’ll want to dig further to find out more about your program of interest. Most business school rankings are based on their MBA program offering, so take this into account—a mid-ranking school can have a top-tier master’s program in a specialized business field. Assess alumni success and be sure to consider how location and program format will impact your more short-term career goals. These tips for choosing a business school may also help guide you.

Take the GRE® General Test.

You will need admissions test scores for your business school applications, and you are in a great position to make that an advantage:

  • The GRE® General Test is often the test of choice for more well-rounded business school candidates who want to show off all of their skills.
  • Test takers also say they wish they had taken the test while still an undergrad when they were used to preparing for and taking exams, writing essays and applying math functions.
  • GRE® scores are good for five years, so you will have time to use them for business school applications now or down the road.
  • If you change your mind about business school or decide to explore dual degree options, you can still use your GRE® scores. They are accepted at thousands of graduate schools, including top law programs.

Learn more about the benefits of taking the GRE® General Test now.

Plant the seed for recommendations.

Now is also the time to build good relationships with professors who could potentially write you a letter of recommendation for your business school applications. Actively participate in class, ask questions and utilize your professor’s office hours for additional guidance. Also look to mentors at your internship or place of employment for strong recommendations and career guidance.

You are smart to prepare now for the possibility of business school—and to improve your chances of landing your dream job! The impact of starting your career out strongly will be long-lasting.