Many professionals at some stage of their career consider studying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). While this advanced degree can open doors for many people, it’s not the best choice for everyone.

Whether you get the potential salary benefits depends on your situation and personal characteristics. Here are five qualities that you should have to genuinely be considered a good candidate for an MBA degree.

1. Demonstrated Leadership Aptitude

A good MBA candidate not only has a desire to be a leader but has demonstrated ambition and aptitude in the past. When you obtain an MBA, you’re saying that you want to be in a leadership position. This should be documented in your history.

Make sure that you consider your past leadership achievements. They’re a reasonable gauge of your potential and future ambitions. In short, you need to have made a difference. Leaving these footprints demonstrates that you have the drive to take on leadership roles.

2. Time Management Skills

When you’re in an MBA program, including popular online courses, you’re going to have a large time commitment. Each class isn’t the same but each has different requirements. You’ll have to start off each semester by reviewing the syllabus and managing your time.

Procrastination means falling quickly behind. Most successful candidates develop a weekly schedule with classwork as a primary focus.

In general, waiting to complete assignments will mean failing classes and assignments. Students who are used to passing classes with last-minute work won’t be able to continue succeeding with this strategy.

Many, even a majority, of MBA students now are enrolled in online programs. The online MBA is designed for full-time workers who need to fit study around a busy schedule. But that doesn’t mean making study a subordinate priority. Successful online MBA students set aside study time and don’t allow for distractions.

3. Able to Work as Part of a Team

Being on a team may not be your favorite activity but it’s simply a part of being in the workplace. One of the key features of an MBA program is learning how to build relationships.

The connections you make while studying could of great benefit. Building a network and gaining exposure to alternative perspectives are considered two of the top reasons for getting an MBA. Not only will the relationships help you professionally, they’ll also help you succeed in the program.

Being a member of a good or poor team may provide unique challenges. The ability to work with a wide range of people and succeed in those teams is essential for candidates.

At the end of the day, you need to be a person who can work on a team. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have opportunities to branch out on your own. But programs want candidates that can demonstrate working well with others. Make sure to discuss working with others in your interviews.

4. Problem Solving Ability

Being a part of a team doesn’t mean that you don’t think on your own. You’re going to be in situations where you’ll have to find a solution. Analytical classes are fairly straightforward. Many of the classes in an MBA program will reinforce problem-solving with case studies.

Unlike undergraduate classes, you’ll respond to case studies in a different way. You may be used to writing what amounts to a book report. However, MBA programs require delving deeply into the problem and developing innovative solutions.

If you’re already a critical thinker, then you’re halfway there. Being able to demonstrate that you can develop innovative and unique solutions will make you a stronger candidate. Make sure to discuss these experiences when applying for an MBA program.

5. Willingness to Learn

A good MBA candidate is a person who has consistent curiosity. This describes a person who is never content with what they currently know. Curiosity is both a key ingredient of business success and a leadership quality (Harvard Business Review).

A good candidate should be interested and even willing to pursue learning more. Most MBA programs offer opportunities to explore other areas of study.

When pursuing an MBA, you’ll have the chance to delve deeper into certain areas. For example, you might be interested in a certain type of marketing. Make sure that you have a clear vision of what you want to learn to get the most out of an MBA program. Chances are that you’ll be asked about this in interviews. So, take time to consider this before applying.

How to Win a Place in an Elite Program

Many people find that being accepted to the MBA program of their choice isn’t an easy process. There are many programs but some of the top programs are incredibly difficult to gain acceptance.

The best way to be accepted is to focus on the application and practice for the interview. Programs only want to admit MBA candidates with a strong chance of success.

Talk to previous graduates and use their advice well. By taking the time to ensure you have an airtight application and interview, you’re going to be a good MBA candidate and, hopefully, able to get into a great program.