American business schools have always been synonymous with the MBA. MBAs awarded in the US are perceived by many to be the most valuable in the world, in terms of career opportunities and salary. As a consequence an MBA from a US university is highly desirable for future managers from all over the world.

The flip-side of this is that the US is also the most costly in terms of tuition fees and living expenses. The cost of a US MBA averages somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000. This is an investment that cannot be taken lightly.

You need to consider carefully whether you can afford to undertake an MBA in the US and what your return on investment will be once you have finished the program. Are you prepared for the mountains of work that are required to ensure that your MBA will put you in the best position possible in the graduate job market? The answer has to be yes.

Why study in the US?

An MBA from an American university’s true worth lies in three areas: educational value, relationship development, and access to opportunity.

Technological development, fuelled by the internet, has created a paradigm shift both in business and in the business of education. As a manager, it is not uncommon to be called upon to manage in areas that did not even exist when you were in school (e.g. the internet). So, in becoming an effective manager in this fluid world an MBA will be extremely useful.

Which US business school should I choose?

For some American firms, where you go to school is as important as what degree you pursue. Schools like Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, Wharton and Northwestern, all have great brand name value. If you get your MBA from such schools, you will have a wealth of opportunities to choose from.

Many MBA programmes seek to appeal to potential students by developing a specialty or by developing strength in a particular region of United States. For example, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC) has a very strong reputation in Southern California with respect to its MBA programme. Its national reputation as an MBA programme provider is not as strong. However, since Los Angeles is one of the most important economic centres in America, to have a strong presence in Southern California is a great thing.

What can you do? Contact and talk to alumni of the school, talk to current students, do independent research, and of course read the institution's promotional materials. Examine where its professors were educated, what their experience is, and where its graduates go. How do they fare in the marketplace? However, this information will make little sense if you haven't figured out why you want an MBA  and what you expect your MBA to mean in your career.

Myths about MBA study in America

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to have an undergraduate business degree in order to pursue an MBA. A lot of the best graduate schools in America prefer a mixture of undergraduate majors and work experience backgrounds to be represented in their student bodies. Why?

In a typical MBA course, it is common for students to examine a particular case study as a means of understanding the key principles behind it. In examining the case, students do not come to the subject matter as a blank slate. Each draws upon their work experience and academic preparation.

A person with a marketing background will see things in the case that perhaps a person with a financial background may not. A person with a social services background may see something that a person with a technical base may overlook. When all these perspectives are brought together students naturally benefit from having a wide range of perspectives to work with. 

Related Articles

  • Why do an MBA?
  • Recent years have witnessed a rapid growth in the UK and international MBA market, with an increasing demand for training in what is now routinely accepted as the premier graduate qualification in the 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 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.

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