MBA Courses Checklist
Every individual will have their own personal circumstances and requirements, but as an initial guide, this simple checklist of points to consider may assist when embarking on choosing institutions and MBA courses:
Is the institution accredited by a national or international body?
In the case of UK schools, the relevant body is the Association of MBAs (AMBA). The American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the US accrediting body. Also, what is the research rating and teaching quality of the MBA? Many countries have independent assessments of research and teaching quality. In England, the latter is assessed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
How many full-time faculty does the institution employ, and is it large enough to sustain a varied programme?
How many teaching hours does the programme include?
UK MBA courses for example can range from 28 to 42 taught weeks, so make sure you are getting value for money.
What is the size of the course?
Bear in mind that larger courses have the potential of bringing you into contact with more people and therefore extending your network.
What is the learning environment - is it competitive or collaborative? Is teaching and learning technology incorporated into the programme?
Some courses, for example, offer group software such as Lotus Notes for study support.
What is the cost of the programme?
You will also need to look beyond the course itself to consider if it really will enhance your career prospects. Find out what the reputation of the MBA is with recruiters. Do multi-national companies and consultancies recruit at the institution?
How extensive is the network of alumni or past students, and do they actively support the programme?
This is just a sample of questions that you need to answer. Some of the information you will require can be found in guides to MBAs and business schools. For detail on individual institutions, consult their course brochures. These can be supplied by using our Free MBA Information Service. At the same time, you should also talk to friends and colleagues who have completed an MBA for their impressions.
Once you have arrived at a shortlist of schools, if at all possible you should visit them. This may not be necessary if you are considering a distance learning programme, however, if you are going to spend a significant amount of time at the place of study you need to see what it is like for yourself. Schools will be more than happy to see you and you will be able to ask all your questions direct. Ask to sit in on a lecture and see the dynamics of the class for yourself. Then at the end of the day, ask yourself if were you stimulated and excited by what you saw.
Remember, an MBA is more than a brand name - it is an experience of a lifetime - so choose wisely, and good luck!
Author: Martyn Jones, Cranfield School of Management U.K