Are you feeling stuck at work and contemplating going back to school for a graduate degree? I encourage you to eff the funk and explore your options.

Two of my friends received MBAs from different schools and they have graciously agreed to chat about it for your benefit. Can I let you in on a secret? One of the big reasons I started this blog was so that I could pilfer information from my friends/family/acquaintances for myself. Selfish? A bit, but I’m sharing with y’all so quit calling me out!

Here are Priya and Ann to share their MBA experiences with you. This one is a podcast format so turn up the volume and go organize your sock drawer/paint your nails/chill in downward dog. Apply for MBA Programs with Ann and Priya

Priya (Vanderbilt University alumnus) & Ann (Georgetown University alumnus)

Additional Q&A:

What was your plan of attack for taking the GREs and the GMATs?

Ann: Study, study, study. Study before work and all day on Saturday and Sundays. The GMATs were something that took me several years to complete. As a result, I ended up taking several of the GMAT prep courses. I also was active on the internet in reading all the blogs, online prep questions, etc.

Priya: I took a course from Princeton Review and studied for about 3 months prior to the GMAT. There are many online tests available to help with the math and verbal sections.

Do you need to take both tests or just one?

Ann: Just one.

Priya: Depends on the school. Most b-schools require the GMAT for admissions but some are accepting the GRE in order to expand their applicant base. Be sure to check with the school before registering for the exam.

What was the most challenging aspect of your respective programs?

Ann: The classes were challenging as well as looking for the job search. But I suspect that is true for all programs. Quite honestly, the most challenging aspect was the GMAT. Everything else was very manageable for me.

Priya: For someone without a finance background, keeping up with the finance courses was a challenge. Thank goodness for my classmates who would take time to teach me simple things like Excel. Getting used to the workload was another huge challenge.

What was the most rewarding aspect?

Ann: The friends and network that I’ve developed.

Priya: I gained a tons of confidence in my management and leadership abilities especially when working in groups. I met some of my best friends while in school and I am grateful for the community at Vandy. My two years there were easily the best two years of my life.

Any advice for someone who feels intimidated by the idea of applying for MBA programs?

Ann: Don’t feel intimidated. Know where you want to be post graduation and how the MBA will help you get there. Don’t do this because you think its the “right” thing to do but rather how will the education/network will take you to where you want to be.

Priya: It can be easy to feel intimidated but remember that b-schools are looking for diverse experiences in their student body. Be sure to highlight the experiences that set you apart and focus on those during the application and interview process.

Could you please recommend specific books or websites as resources for applicants?

Ann: I really liked the Manhattan GMAT series. There are also forums that help with the test prep questions…and those were helpful to me to get prepared for the test.

Priya: Check out the Princeton Review and Kaplan websites for GMAT info. WSJ and Business Week also have MBA sections on their websites. Best advice is to talk to alums or current students about a program that you’re interested in and visit the schools if at all possible.

Side note: During the podcast interview Ann mentions that she did some “informationals.” She is referring to informational interviews, which is when you interview someone who is established in their career to learn about the company they work for, their career path, the positives/negatives of their job, etc. in order to gain insight- not ask for a job. Informational interviews can be done in any industry whether or not you are interested in getting a MBA.

Many thanks to Andrew Manson and Kevin Cabriales for their production assistance!