January 31st, 2013 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Perhaps I should have introduced myself earlier, but allow me to do so now. I am first year student in The University of Maryland Smith School of Business full time program where I work as a Graduate Assistant for The Office of Admissions. As such I have the opportunity to meet prospective students interested in the program. Recently, a prospective student asked me a great question – “What do you think the difference is between Undergraduate and Graduate School.”

As someone who attended a large University for my Undergraduate degree and majored in liberal arts, I could easily cite coursework, work experience, age, size of the program etc. But I think that would be a surface level valuation of the degree differences. The greatest difference between the two experiences, and I would wager an indicator of success, is intentionality.

In Undergrad my coursework and choice of degree were pretty much piecemeal until my third year as a student. The only certainty of my degree was that I was in the process of getting one.But now, in a world where the number of students pursuing an MBA each year decreases and newspapers frequently feature editorials that criticize MBAs, there was only one reason for me to start school again – because I am certain this is the best route in pursuit of my career goals. Prior to sending in any school applications I spoke to alumni, students, admissions professionals and working professionals regarding the degree and made a well informed decision that an MBA was the degree for me.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Business School thus far and have appreciated my time in spent in the program. But would I advise someone who is unclear regarding their next career steps to forgo salaried employment to begin an MBA? Absolutely not. It is significantly easier to spend all night staring at an excel spreadsheet when you can remember the purpose of why you’re doing so. Intentionality.