How to choose the right MBA programs?

How do I choose the right business schools?

What should I look for in a business school?

How to know if a business school is right for you?

What are the main criteria to make your business schools’ list short and relevant?

Pursuing an MBA is a very huge investment in terms of money, time and efforts. And so, where to do your MBA from and choosing the right MBA program is a decision that needs to be analysed well in terms of your need and aspirations. Choosing the right business schools for you needs a lot of factors to be considered but before that, you need to introspect to the deepest to know why you want to do an MBA. Only then can you analyse different schools on the factors most important to you and choose the right MBA programs for your career. 

WHY DO AN MBA? 

An MBA is a way to leverage every aspect of your skills, background, and experiences to make the most of where you’re going next. One of the most important reasons to pursue an MBA is your short-term goals. This can be getting a job in a niche industry, pivoting to a different career or starting your own venture. While you are at it, try to make your short-term goals as detailed as possible, thinking and questioning every perspective. This will help you choose the right MBA programs that fit you and will make your case stronger for your target schools. When you will land in a business school, you will find all kinds of folks with all kinds of plans, but the ones with a clear vision will be the ones who will amaze you the most.

The second most important reason to pursue an MBA, I believe, is the exposure you will get and the strong networks you’ll build. I do not see a lot of aspirants giving a thought to this aspect. Your MBA journey is going to be one of the life-changing experiences for you and you should know what experiences you’re seeking to gain from this journey. Only then can you know if a business school is the right fit for you and can provide you with exactly the experiences you aspire to gain and the kind of skills and personality you want to develop through this experience.

So, before looking out, look in! First, know your reasons to pursue an MBA. Do not straight away start shortlisting business schools, you will never know what you need. There is a lot of information and resources on the internet which can help you give a lot of insights into different business schools but unless you don’t know what you want, you can never choose the right MBA program for you. 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CRITERIA TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT MBA PROGRAMS FOR YOU?

Here are some key things you should bear in mind when it comes to choosing a business school and it’s MBA program that can determine both your professional and personal development for the years to come.

GOALS / NICHE

It is very important to know your inward appeal and motivation for taking up the Management course. The first and foremost thing to be considered while choosing the right MBA program for you is to be clear with your thoughts on what you want to do after you graduate? Is your goal to broaden your mental horizon through education or to hone your skills for career enhancement? Is a hike in salary more important to you or do you need international experience? Where you want to do it from and what position will you be working at after you complete it?

Answers to these questions are very important while choosing the right MBA program for you. The network you establish during your time at business school can mean lifetime connections. And those connections will help you through every walk of your professional life and maybe personal life!

CONSIDER THE BUDGET & LOCATIONS

For many, the decision starts and ends with the cost of tuition. The decision of whether to relocate also plays a large part in the decision-making process. Many major cities around the world are known for a higher cost of living, but there are locations where opportunities and quality of life are just as good and come without the heavy price tag. You need to consider your budget and the location you want to settle in post-MBA. 

KNOW WHETHER YOU STAND A CHANCE AT GRABBING ANY SCHOLARSHIP FOR YOUR TARGET MBA PROGRAM. 

Scholarships can be worth thousands and are awarded based on various criteria. The most common scholarships are awarded for academic excellence. Other scholarships include athletic scholarships, merit-based scholarships, and need-based scholarships. This can help you lead to some of the best schools in the world which you otherwise might not consider due to budget constraints. 

LOOK AT THE EC’S YOU MAY PARTICIPATE IN YOUR TARGET BUSINESS SCHOOLS

You do not want to be called just a book worm, right? Extra-curricular activities help you develop holistically. It helps your resume outshine and gives you a competitive edge in the complex job scenario. There are various unique extra-curricular that separates one business school from the other such as business plan and startup competitions, entrepreneurship and marketing clubs or volunteers in NGOs. Some business schools also provide the opportunity to attend national or international conferences which are specially designed for MBA students. For example, INSEAD CDC organizes many workshops and treks for finance students to different parts of the world. Look for the extra-curricular activities that challenge your potential and push you to contribute to your growth and aspirations. This will help you know the experience you want to gain from an MBA and will help you choose the right MBA programs for you.

AGE OF THE MBA COHORT OF YOUR TARGET BUSINESS SCHOOLS

Age is also one important element while deciding on which business school to get into.  Some schools restrict entries to their programs as they have a certain age criterion for admissions. One needs to go through the criteria of respective colleges to make sure whether they fulfil the requirements and fit into the culture of the MBA cohort of the school. 

COMPETITION AND YOUR CHANCES TO YOUR TARGET MBA PROGRAM

It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of business school prospectuses and all they have to offer. But a reality check is important- bear in mind what your chances are of being accepted into the school and the program of your choice. 

Look into the class profile of different business schools and estimate your chances on various objective parameters. For more subjective parameters, you may want to introspect to estimate your chances and connect to experts and alums of your target schools to get your chances assessed and get different perspectives to your profile

SCRUTINIZE PREVIOUS YEAR’S EMPLOYMENT REPORTS OF YOUR TARGET MBA PROGRAMS

It is very important to scrutinize the placement trends of your target business school before making a final decision.  But do not consider B- schools to be placement agencies! B- Schools are important for imparting knowledge and preparing you to deliver in an adverse position. You can find the placement stats on the respective schools’ website or by connecting to the students who have already graduated from the same school. They would be the most real ones in portraying the actual placement scenarios. 

And don’t just go on numbers! A school can have a good percentage of its students pick a particular career but that does not imply it provides justified opportunities to students for that career. For example, a school may have 30% of its students go to finance but it may have 50% of its class coming from the same background. This may imply that the students already have the required skillsets and network for their career and an MBA from that school simply boosted the opportunities. But if you want to pivot from social impact industry to Private equity, the school may not be a very good choice for you. You need to see if the school’s curriculum and environment help you develop the required skillsets and network for your aspirations. 

Therefore, analyze the employment reports from different perspectives and get a personal analysis of your prospects for your post-MBA aspirations through your target schools. This will help you select the right business schools according to your aspirations. 

INSEAD MBA EMPLOYMENT REPORT AND ANALYSIS

ARE YOU AMBASSADORIAL EVIDENCE OF LEADERSHIP, TEAMWORK AND INTERESTS FOR YOUR TARGET SCHOOL?

Another critical thing to look for in a business school is its leadership and administration. Most leaders of the top business schools in the world are well experienced in both business and academia. This helps them to run and set a vision for their school as part of the business community.

A good business school’s leaders (such as the dean and other administrators) will have a collective vision that supports and balances the interests of students, faculty and alumni. Make sure your values and vision align with the school’s belief system on which it is founded and the culture and diversity it has. 

Here is a pre-MBA application process we follow with our candidates to help them find the right match for them. It may give you a better idea of how to start this exhaustive process of choosing the right MBA programs for you. 

If you need opinions from experts and alums of different business schools on your profile, feel free to connect to us. We are here with a vision to help candidates get clarity around their life, vision and goals. 

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