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How to Choose an MBA Program
Oct 31, 2015

How to Choose an MBA Program

These days it seems like MBA programs are everywhere. However, as I am sure you know, not all programs are created equal and no two programs are identical. So what is an MBA hopeful to do when faced with the myriad of programs and options across the world? My advice, be honest with yourself and keep your future goals in focus. Your choice of where to apply is a personal decision and there are more factors affecting it than I could ever list. Still, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself before you decide.

Do you have a dream school?

For some people, there is a certain program that you have always dreamed of being a part of. Perhaps it is its history, family connections, location, or culture. Whatever the reason is for a program to be idolized in your mind, I think that you owe it to yourself to at least apply. There are some out there that will tell you that choosing a program simply because “you like it” is a silly decision. I am not one of them. At the end of the day, you have to be happy wherever you decide to go and if you like your program, you are more likely to succeed in it.

Is the School Accredited?

As a bare minimum, your school needs to be accredited. There are three major international bodies that issue accreditation, AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA. If the program does not have accreditation there is no guarantee that your hard earned MBA will be worth much in the real world. Also check to see how long the program has maintained its accreditation and if there have been any lapses. A long history of consistent accreditation is a must.

How is the Program Perceived?

Program prestige can be difficult to measure. Yes, we all know top programs like Harvard and Stanford, however other programs are less well known. After you exit your program and enter the job market, details like whether or not the hiring manager has heard of your school matter. When in doubt, ask around to see if the program is well received in the area that you are planning on entering the job market.

Who Teaches There?

The opportunity to work with top professors is a draw for many applicants. However, as a word of caution know that some of these professors are very busy and can be difficult to track down. Many spend a large portion of the year at speaking events, conferences, and presenting research findings. Just because someone is on the staff list does not mean that they are actually on campus on any regular basis. Still, there are many highly respected professors that spend a lot of time in the classroom and are a joy to work alongside. You have to do your research on this one, but having connections with top professors can help you to get ahead.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate?

What percentage of graduates are able to find a job in their field within 6 months? It is a simple question, but it is one that many programs try their best to dodge. This is a hugely important statistic to know, after all the reason why you are getting an MBA is to get ahead in the business world.

At the end of the day, the decision of which MBA programs to apply for is an intensely personal choice. What schools are you planning on applying to and how did you make your decision? Let us know in the comments.

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