Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11am

How to Select the Best MBA for You

researching programs

It is the dream of many executives to get the best MBA possible from one the world’s top business schools – a dream which necessitates a significant investment of time and money. To pursue the best MBA at a top business school, one has to leave one’s job for one or two years, foregoing those earnings on top of often astronomical tuition fees. Most top business school students are experienced in various industries, and they leave the excellent positions at top-tier organizations to pursue their dream. You must fully consider the outcomes and target the best program for you before making such a sizable commitment to ensure a good return on investment (ROI).

If you are not careful to select the best MBA program for your needs, you might find post MBA you don’t get the results for which you’ve hoped. To get the best ROI, consider all the ins and outs of the programs offered by top business schools.

Getting admitted into the best MBA program is a long process, so you need start looking at  programs as early as possible. But even before then, first ask yourself, why an MBA? What will you gain from an MBA at this stage? Why is an MBA on your mind? Aren't you happy with your current position? Do you want to do something else? Do you want a specific MBA job? Do you want to be somewhere else?

Long and short-term goals

Imagine where you want to be in next five years, the next 10 years. The people who enjoy the most success identify where they want to be in the future and then work towards this goal accordingly. In order to do this you need to think about your short-term goals and your long-term goals.

When you’ve got those short-term goals down, then you can think about what schools and programs will best allow you to achieve them. Different schools offer very different courses, programs, modules and electives, and have fields in which they specialize, different methods of teaching and learning, and attract certain kinds of people. Make a list of all the schools that offer what will help you meet you short-term goals, and then rank them accordingly. For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur after completing your MBA, then you want to look into schools from which the greatest numbers of successful startups have emerged.

After selecting a program in line with your short-term goals, you can get in touch with the admission committee to learn more about facts and figures of the program. You should also get in touch with current students of the program. Current MBAs can give you a real picture of the program – as can alumni.

For good ROI, the devil is in the details

You should also look for other factors like GMAT/GPA requirements, class size, school location, the class profile, and post-MBA prospects of the students. Consider class sizes, company links, opportunities to travel, teaching (and grading) style, projects you can do, and the clubs and societies on offer. You must look for each and every small detail that could affect your dream and then move forward based on that.

Schools will provide easily digestible annual employment reports on their websites. Check for the location where most of the students work after their graduation, particularly if you’re focused on working on a specific geography. You can ask for more detailed statistics by contacting the admissions or career office of the school.

All of these factors play a huge role in selecting a program. If all these things are taken care of, you can (relatively) easily select the program that fits you best and you will be able to be happy knowing you’ve made decisions towards achieving your goals. This exercise will not only help you in get insights into MBA programs, but will also benefit you during the interview process.

So, now that you have learnt how to research according to your needs, what are you waiting for? Start right now!

About ProGMAT

ProGMAT is a 25 year old software developer from India, currently working for a Fortune 500 Company. He is studying for GMAT alongside this, and blogs about his experiences. His goal is to get into a top-tier MBA program in either India or further afield, and to help others do the same. 

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Unfortunately, a lot of people still pick schools as if they were dishes in a restaurant (“I’ll have what everyone’s having”). It is important to realize that B school selection does not subscribe to a ‘one size fits all’ formula. What is appropriate for your friend from college may not be appropriate for you. The two of you may have different achievements, grades, GMAT scores, and just plain preferences. Deciding to apply to schools based on others’ opinions is criminal. The only other people who you should perhaps bank on are admissions consultants (yes, I know we say this tongue in cheek, but it is also true). This is because they are professionals, and can help you identify the right schools based on your profile and preferences.