Many people who want to take their career to the next level, consider obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration. While getting an MBA can be a great way to jump start your career, you have to make sure that you choose the right program. Before deciding on which school you should enroll with, here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing an MBA program. Use this list to narrow down your choice of schools and choose the appropriate program for your goals.
1. Look at Specializations
Most MBA programs will have a similar core, so the elective and specializations should be key factors to consider. In which areas does the school excel? Are electives readily available or difficult to get into and are they available each year? The key here is that you want to ensure that the MBA program you choose will provide the training that you need to succeed in your career. After you’ve decided what you want to get from an MBA, use those goals to determine what skills you need to master.
2. What About the Faculty?
Some MBA programs highly promote their faculty and your professors can make a huge difference in your career. However, how much access do you have to your professors? Many times, the big names in the business will teach a class, but are never available for students. Due to book tours, media engagements, and more, you might not get much actual mentorship from the big names.
Of course, you want a faculty that is well-regarded but also one that will be available for growth and development. Try to talk with other MBA students if you can to learn more about the faculty.
3. Review the Costs
Interestingly enough, money is often the primary determining factor when people research the best online MBA programs. This is why many people choose to obtain their MBA online to try to cut the costs. When you try to see how much they compare with other MBA programs, in some cases, the price difference might seem negligible, but there are many online MBA benefits that can help you save on your overall costs in the long run. You don’t have to spend as much on things like lodging, books or transportation, for instance.
Enrolling for an online MBA also gives you more flexibility and you can work your studying hours around your work schedule better. A top-ranked online MBA program will provide you with the same level of expertise as any other top-ranked business school and will allow you to reach your objectives whilst still maintaining your current position.
Before you decide to enroll in an MBA program, you have to make sure that they have the proper accreditation as well. However, you shouldn’t put too much importance on triple accreditation. This is usually something that has been over-hyped by European Business Schools in order to differentiate themselves from other American, Australian or Asian business schools.
The most important thing is that the school needs to have at least their EQUIS, AMBA or AACSB accreditation. That shows that the school follows the set of guidelines and best practices set forth by these organizations. One accreditation is more than enough.
As a matter of fact, if you look up most top business schools, you’ll notice that most of them are only accredited by the AACSB. Never put too much stock in the number of accreditations a school has. This doesn’t tell you a thing about the quality of their program, the level of service to alumni, post-MBA opportunities, or the learning experience. It only tells you that the school was able to reach the accrediting body’s standards. So instead, try to learn as much as you can about the school and only view their accreditation as a minimum requirement.
5. Is the Program Diverse?
Diversity may not seem significant, but this factor will significantly influence the classroom experience. When you enter the workforce, you’ll also be able to reap the benefits of having a diverse class. Students need to interact with students from varying cultures, industries, job functions, and more.
The experience that you learn about from your classmates can broaden your world view and make you more competitive in the global marketplace. Not only diversity in culture, but also diversity in experience is important.
6. Are the Alumni Approachable?
More than the size of the network of alumni, their approachability is a key influencer. You can expect to use the alumni network to gain new opportunities, which is why it’s important to get to know the network. Many schools advertise the size of their network, and this is important. However, also finding out about the reach of the alumni geographically speaking.
If you want to break into the international business community, then you will want to ensure that the alumni network is international as well. Make sure to ask how you can get in touch with any alumni and what students do to help with this networking.
7. Review Career Services
All MBA programs will have some sort of career services that you’ll want to review before signing up. Every program should have statistics on recruitment readily available. You may already have your dream job in hand, but it’s important to have an active career services office. Take note of how many job offers come through career services. Anything over 60% usually means that they are doing a good job for their graduates.
You should also check pre and post MBA salaries in your area as well. The geographical area is very important when calculating salary increase. The cost of living in the city needs to be taken into consideration as well. You can use services like Numbeo to calculate living costs in any city. It will also give you metrics like purchasing power, rent index and consumer price index just to name a few.
Although everyone may have different needs when it comes to an MBA program, these are the primary considerations. Review these factors when choosing a program. Not only will you narrow down your list, but you’ll have an easier time making your final choice.