Five Questions to Ask Before Starting Your MBA |

Five Questions to Ask Before Starting Your MBA

By Craig O

Updated April 9, 2021 Updated April 9, 2021

Before you start applying to business schools, it’s important to consider what you want to gain from studying an MBA. While there are benefits to an MBA program, such as the networking opportunities and advanced knowledge you’ll gain over the course of your degree, you should ask yourself the following five questions before deciding if an MBA best meets your needs.

Michael Wort, Assistant Director of INSEAD’s MBA Recruitment and Admissions, shared with us the five key questions to ask yourself.

What are your objectives?

Think about where you are in your career, reflecting on your objectives and aspirations for the future. Is the MBA to help you take on a more senior role, change career entirely or discover your inner entrepreneur and launch your own business.

An MBA program can help with all three of these, in differing ways. Defining your goals will help you streamline your choice of business schools to only those which are best suited to your personal objectives. At INSEAD, the global team at our Career Development Centre is committed to helping MBA students find their true career passions and maximize their pre-determined goals.

Now you’ve identified your objectives, which MBA program is the best fit?

Your next step is to research the various MBA programs available out there and shortlist your program choices. Some programs are designed to prepare students for general management roles, while others are more specialized, with a focus on a particular sector or area of technical expertise.

You should also consider the length and format of the program. For instance, would distance learning be a better fit for your lifestyle? Or would you rather have the opportunity to talk face-to-face with professors and your cohort. INSEAD’s intense 10-month program is ideal for those who want to minimize their time out of work and lower the opportunity cost.

What is the return on investment (ROI) after graduation?

Most students cover their MBA costs by using a mix of scholarships, loans and personal savings. If you’re expecting to borrow significant amounts, you’ll want to know the degree will provide you with a significant return on investment (ROI) once you go back to work.

Most leading business schools produce employment statistics based on a recently graduated class. By consulting this information, you can get a better idea about the salaries awaiting you in different sectors and geographies, as well as how many of the school’s graduates were recruited by particular employers.

You can even use the post-MBA salary data to estimate how long it will take to pay back any money you have borrowed.

INSEAD has the second-highest ROI among all MBA programs, with a payback period of 2.7 years, according to Forbes in 2017. Ninety percent of our recent graduates secured employment within three months of graduation and are employed by more than 300 different employers over 60 countries — by far the most global and diverse reach of any top MBA program.

What will the quality of the network be?

While reading up on the school’s recent graduates, see if you can get a sense of the composition of a typical MBA class and how you’d fit in. Statistics such as the average GMAT score, average age, years of work experience, number of nationalities, and the professional backgrounds of its students will provide a good picture of the class dynamics.

You’ll also want to check the school’s alumni network will be able to benefit you in the future. We’d recommend connecting with a few alumni from the school before you apply, to find out more from the people who have been through the program.

With over 90 nationalities in INSEAD’s recent MBA class, our students experience a world of new perspectives. They’re also connected to the global INSEAD network consisting of over 53,000 alumni in more than 170 countries. The bonds fostered with one another during the program often translate to lifelong friendships and business opportunities.

What are its strengths beyond academic excellence?

Your investment in an MBA program is significant in terms of your time as well as your money, so make sure you’re choosing an institution where the classes will challenge you.

INSEAD’s robust curriculum includes a Personal Leadership Development Program (PLDP), designed to guide students towards heightened self-awareness through personalized leadership coaching, interpersonal skills, and effective communication.

On top of our core courses, there are also more than 75 electives for you to choose from which will help you tailor your skills accordingly.

Learn more about studying at INSEAD.

This article was originally published in May 2019 . It was last updated in April 2021

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