People typically pursue an MBA because they are looking to improve their career opportunities. MBA programs can be compared based on attributes such as rankings, starting salaries, recruitment/ job placement opportunities, and net costs. In addition, there are other factors that potential candidates focus on such as predominant teaching methods, size of classes and location. These are all important considerations; however, you are investing time and money when you complete an MBA program. Therefore, as you start the process, focus on your objectives for getting an MBA.
Where do you begin?
Research extensively the schools you are interested in. Look at the entire two–year experience and determine if the program will give you the skills you are looking to acquire, the resources you need, and the network you want to develop. Take a look at such attributes as quality of student life, teaching methodology, faculty orientation (research versus teaching), and size of program. Location should also be a consideration because as can be expected, schools in the financial centers can easily attract guest lecturers in the financial services while other areas may offer expertise in areas such as healthcare or luxury brand management.
Understand your profile. Many facts are considered in the admission process, including academic background, professional experience and progression, achievements, leadership potential, awards, hobbies, and test scores. Your performance in your prior academic program and test scores help shed light on how you will thrive in the program. Another key area that is considered will be your stated goals and how you expect the program to help you achieve them. Understanding all these areas is the starting point for developing a personal branding strategy and help you stand out among other MBA prospects.
Finally, apply to a wide range of schools. Apply to schools that have higher GPA or GMAT results – “reaches” -as well as ones that have lower ones. The process is highly subjective and you never know what combination of attributes gets you admitted.
People typically pursue an MBA because they are looking to improve their career opportunities. MBA programs can be compared based on attributes such as rankings, starting salaries, recruitment/ job placement opportunities, and net costs. While these attributes are valuable pieces of information, when narrowing down the school list, it is best not to focus on just the top few programs. It is important to remain pragmatic and consider those schools that best meets your expectations and particular profile.
One attribute that is often overlooked in making school selection is teaching styles. I would advise students to research the teaching styles of the different programs. There is the case study method, the experiential/action based learning method, and team-based focus of learning. Some schools will emphasize one method whereas many employ a combination of these methods. It is important to find a program where the teaching method allows you to learn and thrive.
The case study method, often associated with Harvard, allows students to analyze and debate actual management challenges and make recommendations on actions that can be taken. This method relies on class discussions on a host of different views and tends to appeals to students who tend to be more outspoken and gregarious.
In recent years, schools have been added to experiential elements to the curriculum with increasing emphasis on hands-on activities such as industry-focused immersion experiences and conferences. Programs that favor this approach include Michigan Ross and Vanderbilt Olin. This approach may be favored by those who enjoy working in groups and want to see how businesses are managed in real-time.
Lastly, there is the traditional lecture method. All MBA programs use this method but certain schools standout for their greater use. Lectures are often the most efficient method for teaching business concepts and theories with case-study and experiential learning both being more time consuming. Nevertheless, an academic environment where there is higher percentage of lectures may be more comfortable for some students.
MBA programs will incorporate all these methods when teaching the curriculum but there are significant variations between schools. Consider your personal style and preferences as you begin the school selection process.
Posted by Jumet