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As boundaries between countries become more permeable and business increasingly global, being a leader in the modern business world means as much about diversity and ethics as it does about innovation and ambition. Climbing the ladder is important, but with so much competition, a new understanding of the power of collaboration has been brought to the forefront of the business world. If you are still thinking in terms of the ‘rainmakers’ of the 1990s, think again. Today’s companies need individuals who can work in teams comprised of people from a broad range of backgrounds and find a path to success by maximizing the strengths of each member.

Because of this, modern MBA programs work to help expose students to real world scenarios as they improve your knowledge foundation. Also, graduate business schools typically ask that applicants have at least two years of work experience, but don’t be surprised to find that a school requires up to five years. Why are MBA programs asking for this? They want students who can bring something valuable to the table so that your cohorts can learn indirectly from your experiences. In turn, you can learn from theirs. Having a community that has encountered obstacles and overcome them in the work environment allows students to connect theoretical knowledge learned in class to the complexities of managing projects.

Although MBA programs are generally raising the requirements for entry into their programs, they are also making it easier than ever to get your degree. To accommodate the schedules of busy professionals, a wide variety of programs are available to meet your specific education needs and goals. Even the most traditional of schools now offer EMBA programs where you only need to attend class on the evenings or weekends, and the number of prestigious schools providing online programs has grown exponentially over the past few years. For example, Florida Institute of Technology’s (FIT) Nathan M. Bisk College of Business offers both a traditional classroom and an online program. Bisk COB also offers an MBA degree that has a concentration in Healthcare Management as well as both a traditional classroom and online Master of Science degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

As the requirements for MBA programs change, so do attitudes. Don’t feel the need to rush into a graduate program. It’s okay to take an extra year to pursue an unparalleled opportunity or simply gain more experience and improve your GMAT scores. While you are building your resume, take the time to fully explore the different schools and programs available. That way, when you apply you can demonstrate to the MBA program selectors that you are a highly-qualified applicant who has made an informed decision in applying to their school.