Selecting the right business school is the most important decision in the application process. Before limiting your options to high profile schools, investigate all possible options available to you as a consumer of graduate management education..
Invest time in asking appropriate questions and collecting the right information, and focus on programmes that will best fit your personal and professional goals - only a fraction of the 1500 graduate management programmes worldwide will be a suitable match for you. Before you begin, make sure your career-related goals and personal considerations are well-defined. Identify a range of schools that meet your needs, and compile a select list to which you will apply. Eliminate any schools that do not closely match your personal and professional goals.
Request brochures and application materials using school Websites, and contact the admissions office to have information mailed to you. Admissions representatives are valuable resources to clarify your results and provide further information. But no one can give you effective advice unless something is known about your goals. In conversations with admissions staff, remember to provide key information about your background and interests. Avoid asking vague questions such as ‘Why should I come to your school?’
Placement professionals are the best authority on whether your MBA career aspirations will be satisfied at their schools. Ask how successful graduates have been in securing internships and jobs, review published placement statistics, and seek clarification on data that is relevant to you.
No matter what sources you use, you will receive the most accurate material directly from each school. Do not rely only on secondary sources of information to do your research, and read explanations of how data is gathered and reported, as statistics can be easily misinterpreted when taken out of context.
You must align your priorities and goals with a programme’s strengths, so look beyond each school’s marketing messages to uncover concrete evidence that your priorities and expectations will be satisfied. For example, if a school says its programme is global, ask about the specific qualities and achievements that make it so.
Most b-schools consider core courses to be the foundation for a program, and these are usually sequenced at the beginning of study. The core generally includes subjects such as Accounting, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing and Production Management. But because core classes are prerequisites for taking subsequent courses, it is important to check how far you can control the sequence of your classes. Can you exempt any of the required courses? Are exemptions based on previous course work, professional designations, or examination results? How do exemptions affect your programme options?
Within the general MBA programme, you build your area of expertise through elective courses, based on your need to develop a functional specialty or ‘concentration’. To effectively judge how the curriculum will help you, examine how many electives are offered, and whether they will be available to you. In addition, are there additional courses in other areas that make sense for you to take? Can you take a course outside of the business school but within the university for MBA credit? Can you do independent study or design your own concentration?
Examine the process of registration and course selection. What are your chances of getting spaces in the classes you need, when you need them? When are course schedules finalised? Can you change your schedule – if so, how? What is a typical course load? Can you increase or decrease the number of courses you take, and are there limits?
A school’s philosophy on approaches to learning can vary. For instance, students’ class contributions are central to learning; conversely, in lectures, the faculty member drives the subject. Both require high levels of student participation. Find out if the school prescribes a uniform teaching or grading style within the program, or if it depends on faculty members; what forms of feedback are formalised between students and faculty, and how group work is viewed and measured.
A sizable part of a school’s reputation is related to its focus on research, which results in more relevant and timely course content. Faculty renown strengthens industry ties and promotes an MBA program’s brand, helping graduates secure jobs.
Some schools put more emphasis on teaching quality than on faculty research, but most schools try to adopt a balanced approach, as quality research leads to relevant teaching. In addition, a school’s emphasis on teaching versus research will determine the type of faculty it attracts. Ask if the faculty is known for academic research, teaching quality, or accessibility to students. The total cost to obtain an MBA will vary, as each programme sets a rate for tuition and fees. Direct costs are those associated with your enrollment in a graduate management programme, including tuition, student fees, books, and supplies. Indirect costs are those living expenses incurred while attending b-school, such as housing, utilities, food, personal expenses, transportation, and other standard living expenses.
Your decisions about how you will study and where you will live affect your total cost of education, therefore knowing the financial impact of your decision gives you an important planning tool. Admissions staff can provide information about scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and other sources of financial aid that may be available.
Your MBA experience will encompass many factors beyond academic life. Do your chosen schools fit into your lifestyle and environmental preferences? For instance, if your MBA decision involves a family choice, how will your decision impact those closest to you?
Student culture is also an important consideration. You will learn as much from your fellow students as you will from faculty members,because your classmates will represent a wide variety of work and cultural backgrounds. Participation in student-run organizations, community programmes, and international field trips can greatly enhance your experience.
Compare yourself to the typical student profile at each programme. In a competitive application process, use your judgement to determine which schools are worth your investment of time and money. As a consumer, ensure that the institutions possess the curricular strength, culture, and program philosophy that best meet your needs. For more information, please visit: www.gmat.org
Reproduced with kind permission of:
Exploring the MBA, published by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 1999.
- Why do an MBA, Diverse Opportunities, Demand for Training
- Why do an MBA? - Diverse Opportunities. Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the UK and international MBA market. The increasing demand for training in what is now routinely accepted as the graduate management degree is in part due to the MBA's growing reputation with senior executives in the business world.
- Distance Learning MBA, Full Time Programmes at all Levels
- Distance Learning MBA. There are various approaches to learning. Full time programmes at all levels require a career break of some sort. This may be acceptable especially for short courses or where you get leave of absence but you also have to consider access, location, timing, the quality of the group and of the deliverer. Local courses may be of restricted quality and you may not be able to afford overseas courses.
- Online MBA programs, The Continuing Development of Internet Technology
- Online MBA Programs. The online MBA is a relatively new development and as such there are very few business schools that are offering an MBA program entirely online. Many online programs still require students to attend mandatory residential courses as part of their syllabus. The length and frequency of these "contact" sessions vary depending on the school and program.
- MBA Rankings, Are a Great Way for Perspective Students to Select
- MBA Rankings. MBA rankings are a great way for perspective students to select between the best business programs offered at reputable universities. With future students in mind four main sources, The Financial Times, Business Week and The Economist publish a list of universities that offer the best program to earn a Master's in Business Administration. Taking the MBA rankings into account, perspective students will have a general idea of the status and value of their future degree in the business world. When selecting a school students should be aware of these rankings, even though they are debatable since they are seen by so many hiring companies.
- MBA Rankings, Business Week and U.S. News & World Report
- MBA Rankings. The ranking of business schools has been a controversial subject for a number of years. It is only recently, however, that they have become popular with the press, publicized and generally accepted. As a matter of fact, one of the principal reasons for the rankings has been the ability of the articles to boost the circulation of the magazines.
- Full-time MBA
- A global MBA with an Asia Pacific focus. Students can choose an Asia specific track such as China, Japan or Vietnam. Hawaiiâs only AACSB accredited MBA program. The cohort format fosters teamwork and peer learning
- Full-time MBA
- The Full-time MBA is an intensive one year programme, which offers a rigorous and challenging process of personal and management development.
- Part-time MBA
- The Part-time MBA is a 3 year part-time programme, designed for those working in a wide variety of managerial, technical and professional roles.