It should be somewhat obvious that the more training you receive, the better you will be at achieving your goals. As it is true with doctors, so it is true with business leaders. Immediately after graduation, MBA grads earn an average of $45,000 more than their peers, and as more MBA grads enter entrepreneurship, they are finding it much easier to run a business with their advanced education and experience they gained from their program.
However, not every aspiring entrepreneur has two full years and several tens of thousands of dollars to drop on an MBA. Fortunately, you don’t have to. While it does take diligence and commitment to make it through business school without years-worth of student debt, there are a few simple tricks to help you survive your MBA program.
Skip Those Admissions Tests
There is a serious misconception that to get into graduate school, you have to take a slew of hard exams. The GRE, the GMAT, and others are frequently requested in admissions packets for business school, and they are hardly easy, requiring advanced reading and math skills as well as proficiency in writing and arguing. Often, preparing for these tests takes several months and thousands of dollars. However, there’s a little-known secret: You don’t have to take them.
Not all business schools allow you to skip admissions tests, but there are online MBA programs where no GMAT is necessary. By choosing these programs over others, you can shave months off the application process, obtaining your degree sooner so you can earn the title and salary you deserve.
Challenge the Need for All Courses
Once you get into a business school, you should survey your list of required credits and courses. Undoubtedly, there will be at least one class you don’t need to take, whether you already have formal education in the topic or you already gained enough real-world experience in the field. Most business schools allow you to challenge credit requirements, which means you can complete your degree after fewer courses — reducing the time and money you devote to your education. You might need to prove your knowledge and skill through testing, but if you truly know your stuff, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Take Advantage of Networking Events
A strong network is as valuable to business professionals as heightened knowledge and skill, which is why so many business schools take pride in their abundant networking opportunities. Typically, business programs encourage students to attend networking events around the country – and you should definitely participate. For one, you will meet influential peers and professionals; for another, there will be all sorts of freebies that help you save money while you are in school.
While at networking events, you should take full advantage of food and drink offerings to save you from paying for an outside meal. Additionally, as a student, you might be able to use scholarships and grant money to pay for travel expenses, including airfare and hotels. Thus, a distant networking conference becomes a nearly free vacation. However, while you are gaming the networking system, you shouldn’t forget to talk with valuable professionals as those connections will benefit you long after you graduate.
Optimize Your Real Estate
One way to start practicing your newfound business skills is to capitalize on your real estate. Unless every nook in your home is full, you can use your available space to earn extra cash. It isn’t difficult to start renting out your rooms; there are dozens of online tools and mobile apps to help you advertise your home faster and start making money sooner.
Before you dive into becoming a landlord, you should consider what you want from your rental agreement. Long-term renters provide a reliable income for months or years, and short-term lodgers give you flexibility and greater earning potential at the expense of stability. You might transform this business school money-making scheme into a lifetime side hustle by investing in more real estate – if such an involved hobby is interesting to you.
Exploit Your Student Status
Most business school students are non-traditional, meaning they return to the education system after some time in the real world. As a result, few recognize themselves as typical students — and few take advantage of their student status. It’s surprising how many merchants offer discounts to students; by waving your student ID, you can reduce prices significantly on anything from museum tickets to insurance plans. Even if you are an online MBA student, you can find online discounts for the tools you need, including computers and technology services. Just because you have a job while you are going to school doesn’t mean you should ignore the perks of being a student.