How to Choose the Right Business School
Did you think that taking the GMAT was the hardest part?
The truth is, one of the biggest challenges when applying is deciding where to go. When you decide to start applying for MBA programs, most of us don’t know where to start. There are many options and making the right decision can be very difficult. What do I take into account? Rankings, comments, campus, contacts with companies, employability of graduates, average salary, etc? And so things get complicated.
We give you some key points to help you decide which one or which could be the most suitable options for you.
It is important to research and listen to what the schools have to say, most schools will show a trend towards one industry or another, so it is important to identify the profile of the school in the market and see if there is a match with what we are looking for and our profile. Many schools try to excel by specializing in a particular sector. For example, Columbia and Wharton are traditionally known as specialty schools of finance, while Kellogg and Booth arguably focus more on marketing. Not only the approach of a school will influence your experience, but the profile that this school has attracts companies that seek it, so your professional future will also be impacted by this aspect.
There are a couple of quick ways to see the focus center of a business school. For your initial search, take some time on the website, looking at the companies where your students come from and what jobs they get when they leave (a very quick way to see this is by using Linkedin, search by the name of the university and see what their graduates walk). Then, use what you have learned and talk to current or recent graduates about their experiences, asking them specific questions about how the focus area influenced their daily learning.
If you are not 100% sure where to focus, don’t worry! This is an important and long process so take some time to evaluate your options.
Among other things and since business schools tend to give you flexibility and course options, the syllabus can vary substantially from one option to another. You will have many options, from the traditional approach method at Harvard, to the myriad of options at MIT Sloan, which allows students to choose from many electives according to their preferences and profile.
Now, to choose an optimal program, first consider your university degree, your professional experience, sector and industry and which are the aspects that you would like to keep and which ones to change. For example, one of our students with a university degree in History was interested in schools that taught classes in finance and accounting for non-specialists, as this would complement the skills that his profile does not yet have or where his expertise does not lie. . Another of our students with experience in Marketing knew that this was his field of action, so he chose to apply to specialized universities in this field and thus deepen his knowledge and become a specialist.
The best way to get an idea of the experience you might have is visiting the schools and sitting in a class, talking to teachers and students about their experience and also evaluating their profiles and how similar they are to yours and what you are looking for. .
Whether you like it or not, business school rankings will be something that will influence your professional future, so they must be taken into account but not as the only variable. Granted, rankings are not the most important thing, however, companies and headhunters will also take them into account before making decisions about where to look for talent.
This being influential, going to a well-ranked school matters more to some than others. For students with little work experience, going to a well-ranked school can further influence your future. For professionals with extensive work experience, going to a well-established school could help industry changes more easily. In short, the better the ranking, the better the opportunities, but also the higher the income filter.
The top rankings are US News & Word Report, The Financial Times, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. All three use different methodologies, but digging through them will begin to give you an idea of where the schools are located.
Don’t forget your future classmates! The other students can enhance your experience as well as help with international business opportunities or additional contacts for future employment. Research well where most students come from, countries, industries, etc. because they will also influence the outcome of your MBA program.
Also the size of the community of graduates may interest you. Some schools have hundreds of graduate students (who are a possible contact for you), while others have thousands around the world.
Deciding where to live for the next 2 years of your life is difficult, but you should think beyond the time of your graduation when considering your school location. Berkeley Haas, for example, has about 2/3 of its graduates in the Bay Area. That’s great if you want to work in San Francisco, but it can complicate things if you want to work in New York.
The location of your school is also influenced in the long term by the location or origin of the professional network you form. You will spend 2 years meeting people in that place and in that area and these relationships can influence the success of your career.
Additionally, geography can end up being a great point to consider if you have a partner moving in with you when you attend business school. Depending on your work situation, certain places will be friendlier when looking for work than others.
These are just some of the many points and factors to consider and each one will have a personal opinion on each of them, the important thing finally is to make a decision based on your internal knowledge about your own expectations, motivations and objectives. If you need support in your decision, do not hesitate to contact us. Our Admission Advisory service is at your disposal.