Several years back, I met an elderly American gentleman in a wedding reception. He’s a well-traveled guy, also talked a lot. After a few chatters, he asked me where I would prefer to live, if I had a choice.
Without much hesitation I told him that for quality of life, Singapore is great, for shopping and employment, Hong Kong is better and for culture and night life, nothings beats Bangkok, Thailand. But if I want to die from boredom, the U.S. is the best.
With a wry chuckle he said, “I agree. That’s why I came to the Far East”
The above underscores the difficulty in choosing the best or the right alternative from a number of alternatives. Nothing is ever absolute, but a set of qualifiers. Choosing is a matter of comprises – even in choosing the right or best business school.
So what is the best business school for you?
If you surf for the top business schools in the U.S., you will find out that of the 437 MBA programs reviewed, not one is an absolute best. They are “best” relative to their respective specializations, i.e., accounting, entrepreneurship, executive MBA, etc.
So rather than search for the best or the right business school, focus, instead, on your needs and find among several alternatives the one that can serve most of them; your best fit.
You can do that by using the following as a guide:
- Does it offer what you need?
What type of degree or program do you want? Business schools generally offer several MBA options such as a one year MBA program, two years, part-time programs, an executive MBA or distance education programs.
- What specialized area are you looking for?
Are you interested in a Harvard-type program that sends MBA candidates to work on specific projects with selected companies overseas?
Bear in mind that nothing has everything and everything is never found in a single thing.
- Do you have the budget for it?
Business schools can be very expensive. Available figures show that a two-year, full-time MBA at Columbia Business School costs $168,307.00 in New York, while that of Harvard, costs almost $160,000.00
Despite the cost, late December is normally stress time for a lot of applicants. This time of the year, they will be told that they are either accepted, rejected or to wait a little while.
If it is the amount that stresses you out, you can always look for a school that fits your budget.
- What is their curriculum?
Though most business schools are now adopting a general management perspective, they are still best known for their specializations, their core strengths.
Your choice of school, therefore, will be highly dependent on your subject of interest. If you are interested in global finance, go for a school with an excellent global finance program.
- Average number of students per class:
A lot of students find this important. While some prefer a larger class for lively interaction and discussion, others prefer a more individualized attention.
Choose a school with student-teacher ratio that suits your preferences.
- What is its reputation?
Business schools are normally ranked by several organizations. Find out how they stand in the rankings.
Be careful though. A school may not be in the top ranks, overall, but it may still have a solid reputation in some areas that interest you.
- How exclusive is it?
In order to limit their students, some business schools are very choosy in admitting applicants.
You can find out how exclusive they are by checking their admittance records to see if your GPA and other test scores are within their acceptance norms.
No worries here. You can always apply somewhere else if the odds are against you.
- Employment statistics:
People go for an MBA degree to increase their employability, enhance their chances for promotion or augment their career plans.
A business school that doesn’t appear in the radar screens of potential employers is not worth going into. Chances are that it is struggling, that’s for sure.
To be certain, check with the school’s employment records, ask from friends and acquaintances, talk to former graduates to get a better insight.
Getting into your right business school will play a huge part in how well you do with your MBA. You cannot leave it to chance, nor do it haphazardly. Do a nice job and you will reap dividends down the road.
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