Selecting an MBA Program

Selecting an MBA Program

Decisions, decisions.

How to make them?

I personally swear by “Eenie, meenie, miney moe.”

But, you could also flip a coin, pull a straw, or use a blindfold. Each mechanism is bound to steer you in the right direction.

The only exception, of course, is this life-altering thought, now pressing upon you:

Where should I get my MBA?

Unfortunately, decisions about b-school are slippery, and often require less obvious tactics.

So what’s the best approach? First and foremost: get in touch with yourself. You need to understand your academic strengths, career goals, financial abilities, and geographical preferences before you can find a program that best fits you. So clarify your limitations, flexibilities, habits, goals, needs, and desires. Then, consider the various factors that may contribute to your MBA choices.

We’ve designed the following sections to make this course of action easier. If you stick to the guidelines, you should have no problem picking the right b-school for you.

Academic and specialized Factors

What area of study aligns with your ideal job? Marketing, Accounting, Finance — each concentration provides a different kind of skill that may or may not be applicable to you in your future career. So if you want to be an investment banker, what kind of skill do you need to acquire via an MBA? What are your personal, academic strengths and how might you apply them to your degree and later employment? Are you a numbers wizard? Do you have a substantial foundation on moral conduct? Are your managing skills simply superb? If so, you will want to attend a b-school that highlights and expands upon your abilities. Are there any particular majors or classes you would like to pursue in b-school? Many programs have rare courses or subjects that are unavailable in other places. So, you want to pinpoint your interests as much as possible to find the perfect institution.

Financial Cost

Most business students confront the fiscal challenge. An MBA is a desirable specialized degree, but expensive to acquire. If you are in a financial difficult situation, do weigh out your options. What kind of program can you provide? Are you able to gain scholarships or loans? Are you eligible for federal aid? Can you keep up a job while pursuing the degree to ease the cost? Is your current employer willing to contribute to your education? What payment options are you eligible for? What programs or applications do you need to research to ease the financial burden? B-school is costly, but remember, there are loopholes and alternatives. You just have to find them!


Geography plays a huge role in your MBA pursuits. There are many factors to consider here. Are you limited in any way? Do you have a spouse or a family with children? If so, you will want to consider schools closer to them. Would you like to live near your relatives and friends? Is it important to you to be close to home? Alternatively, would you like to venture out to a near area? Would you consider studying oversea? How might a foreign MBA contribute to your future success? Also, what kind of business climate do you want? In many situations, the b-school you attend will rule you to jobs in the surrounding area. So, would you like to live in an urban city or a suburb? Near the stock market or a large, financial district? Do you want to work as an international expatriate for a multinational corporation? Alternatively, does a small local business ecosystem allurement to you? Location has bearing on your present life, but also on your employment opportunities. Make sure to research the businesses and companies near the schools you apply to. Consider the corporations that make offers to the students. Where might you get a job placement after the program? Is your family able to move with you? As always, keep the big picture in mind.

Finally, you might have other personal requirements, rare to your situation. Is varied important to you? Would you like to attend a school with a large minority representation? Do you require specialized facilities or medical sets? Are there specific professors or resources you want access to? Do you want to keep up a part-time job while in school? These factors might seem less important but they are not. You are an individual, like no other. The school you attend should be tailored to you, in particular.

After you have explored these factors, find schools that match your needs. You can conduct online research, meet with your undergraduate college counselor, or discuss options with you current employer. Don’t hesitate to ask relatives or friends for help. Finally, Business Week, U.S. News, and World Report are great resources for MBA information.

This course of action might sound daunting – but with the proper groundwork and honest self examination, the search should be much easier.

Best of luck with the selection course of action!

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