How to Tell Your Boss You're Getting an MBA

March 25 2013

The always insightful Forte Foundation just posted an article on their blog by Tricia Felice, Chicago Booth '14 about how to tell your boss that you are leaving to go to business school.

This time of year, many applicants are receiving good news about their applications  and will be going on to the next chapter. Indeed, many of you also asked for manager for a recommendation (and it worked!), so after thanking them for their support, it makes good sense to  “keep them in the loop about your final decision and timeframes.”

That’s a given.  Your boss and your teammates will have to readjust to your absence, and presumably you are going to take some time to play or even get an internship in a new industry to increase your network and experience before going off to business school.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Ms. Felice when she comments on the official "two weeks' notice." , “I personally don’t think the the standard two weeks is enough," she says. "The earlier the better.”   She also gives you some tips for planning your handoff and keeping it professional:

“Leave the company happy with you and your work.  Present your plans to your boss when you discuss your departure.  … Also consider how you pass off clients to your successor or co-workers. Keep it professsional. Craft a professional letter of resignation to make your end date official.  …This letter is also a wonderful time to recap your appreciation for the company and leave the door open for a future relationship with the company."

In her list of tips, the author also brings up the idea that you might continue to work for your company while you are in business school. I know that financially it looks iike a winner, but in the long term,  that’s a choice of last resort if you are going into a full-time MBA program.

Business school: A Selfish Mistress

Business school – your whole experience, including your classmates and friends, is a selfish mistress.  And the more you put in, the more you get out.  Also, if you can afford to spend two years away, make the internal break so you can open yourself up to new experiences – experiences you didn’t even know you were lacking.

And financially, it may work out that in opening yourself up to something really exciting that you didn't even know was out there. Remember Sheryl Sandberg's comment, "If  you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat. Just get on."

So hat tip to Tricia Felice, the Chicago Booth program and the Forte Foundation, for helping students world over leave their jobs with professional elegance.

And heartiest congratulations to those going off to their next adventure at business school.

Contact Betsy Massar at at or her website for a consultation on potential school choices. Betsy is one of the original 85 Broads. She graduated from Harvard Business School and worked at Goldman Sachs on 85 Broad Street in her first post-MBA job. She has since worked in London, Asia, and in Silicon Valley on the investment banking, institutional sales, and investment management marketing businesses.  An award-winning business writer, Betsy is also a resume coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  Admitted, An Interactive Workbook for Getting Into a Top MBA Program, is the first book published by 85 Broads. More info can be found at the Admitted website.

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