The process of choosing the right MBA program is an arduous one. There is a vast amount of information about schools and applications, and with a lot of factors at play, it becomes very difficult to have clear answers. While we suggest that one should work hard and strive hard for his/her dream B-School, it’s also important to choose the right MBA program ‘fit’ wise. Here we have tried to list down a few key parameters to find the best fit when it comes to B-Schools and MBA programs.
The first and foremost metric of judging a college becomes its ranking. Various media and news agencies take an annual exercise to figure out how colleges rank. Although they have different measurement criteria and consider various factors, the meat of the matter remains mostly the same across the various ranking agencies. Some of the prominent rating agencies include – P&Q, US News, Financial Times. The MBA rankings reflect the quality of the program, the curriculum, pedagogy, faculty and research, placements, facilities of the b-school and a lot of other factors. These rankings can help you make an informed choice to select your dream MBA college.
Some educational institutes are reputed for particular MBA streams. This can be due to a variety of factors such as renowned faculty, cutting edge research, alumni base in the respective industries – as examples, Kellogg has been regarded as the best B-School for marketing over the years while Wharton has established itself as the top choice for Finance enthusiasts.
Placements are an important criterion to decide on the MBA program. While these programs open-up an array of career opportunities, one needs to be cognizant of the fact that B-Schools are not placement agencies. Majority of the top B-Schools do not follow a conventional placement process and the students themselves need to hunt for jobs through alum and industry contacts. Here, a little homework in terms of reviewing past placements records and assessing whether it aligns with your goals with respect to industries and roles in which students get placed in, career shifts and average salaries can go a long way in choosing the right B-School.
Top MBA cohorts come in a variety of sizes. While National University of Singapore has a class size of 120, the likes of Harvard Business School and Indian School of Business admit about 900+ students each year. MBA Programs with large class sizes helps students capitalize on wider networking opportunities with a greater pool of classmates. On the other hand, smaller batch sizes focus more on quality of interactions and on building close-knit communities. As such the quality of connection one may end up making might be more significant.
Apart from networking opportunities and diversity, the professor/student ratio is another important aspect of class size. While all top MBA programs ensure that students have ample opportunities to access professors both inside and outside the classroom, a small class-size might offer you better interaction opportunities with the faculty during your MBA program.
Fees (Application + College Fees)
There are no free lunches in life. A top-tier MBA is amongst the most expensive courses to study globally. MBA aspirants all over the world pay hefty fees for pursuing management programs. An MBA degree, as such, demands a huge investment on the student’s part. The aspirants need to take into consideration not only the application expenses, the tuition fee and the living expenses, but also the opportunity cost of foregone salary. Furthermore, since many of the students end up financing their MBA through an education loan, it is important to consider how much debt burden one is willing to take.
While an MBA program does drastically benefit your career and it’s not wise to measure ROI of an MBA program in terms of how much you pay and the immediate salary post your MBA program, tuition fees is still an important consideration for many for a variety of reasons.
Choosing the right geography for your MBA is an extremely important decision. While not the holy grail, but the simple go-to rule is: Do your MBA in the country/continent where you see yourself working and settling down in the long term.
Visa and Immigration
For students to pursue an MBA from an International B-School, in addition to securing an admit, getting a student visa is the next step and the requirements and hurdles to obtain the same needs to be taken into consideration. After obtaining their MBA, many of the foreign students wish to continue working or staying in the same country for a variety of reasons. As such, MBA aspirants need to be aware of the immigration rules. Friendly immigration policies allow international MBA students to gain employment post their MBA program.
For example, the US is the one the most popular destinations for an international MBA program. The country has top business schools such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT and many others. However, immigration woes have reduced the popularity of US MBA programs for international applicants. Canada, on the other hand has significantly friendlier immigration policies. Work visas granted to MBA graduate students in Canada provide a much easier way to gain permanent residency.
For the vast majority, climate isn’t a huge consideration in determining which B-school they choose. However, certain MBA aspirants do place an emphasis on the climate while choosing a B-School. If there is a specific climate under which an individual thrives, then it’s a no brainer that one should consider the same while selecting a B-School. Climate becomes even more important when you plan to settle in the same region or city post your MBA program.
Choosing the right location can also contribute to one’s MBA experience. In addition to the access to the industry and access to employment opportunities, the city should provide opportunities outside the classroom to enhance your MBA experience. Further, the neighborhood cities can also play a vital role to provide avenues for job opportunities and experiencing life as a local.
Most critical factor while determining B-School fit is conversion. There are thousands of talented individuals aspiring to convert top B-Schools every year. While one has his/her list of dream B-Schools, at the same time he/she needs to be realistic and look at possibilities of converting a B-School. Even if you have a stellar profile, the admissions’ committee might refuse to give you that coveted admit if they feel that the particular MBA program will not be able to help you achieve your post MBA-Goals.
One needs to carefully evaluate his/her profile and understand how it fits the kind of applicants different MBA programs admit. While this process can be strenuous and difficult, it nonetheless is a very vital exercise. Keeping this in mind, we have designed a B – School Sorting Tool that leverages analytics and data models to help you select the best schools that suit your profile and drastically increase your chances of getting an interview call.
For a majority of us, joining a B-School and completing an MBA is a once in a lifetime decision. Choosing the Best Fit is a comprehensive exercise and it’s essential that MBA aspirants are well-informed prior to making their choices.