Picking the Right Business School: How to Make the Choice You Won’t Regret
Last year, there was a considerable rise in the popularity of MBA degrees. Concerned with the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, professionals around the world started seeking ways to increase their value on the job market. For many of them, getting a prestigious diploma seemed the perfect way to do it.
This tendency is not new. The demand for business degrees usually rises during recessions, says Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO and founder of QS. As no one can deny that what we currently face is one of the deepest recessions in decades, the popularity of MBA degrees is quite understandable.
In addition to that, there are other factors like higher accessibility of the programs during the pandemic. There are also cheaper loans from the banks and the necessity to meet the new challenges of the job market. So, 2020 became the year when people who have been postponing their MBA studies decided to finally pursue a degree, CNBC reported in summer.
However, an MBA is a serious investment – in terms of time as well as money. Typically, the programs last two years and cost around $150 000. So, it’s crucial to pick the best school to suit your goals in order to not regret the time and money spent. It is also important to find a reliable platform where you can get the necessary assistance with your assignments and buy college essay. The EssayHub writing service would be the best fit.
Below, we’re explaining what to consider when choosing the right business school.
Determine Your Goals
Before you even start your research, there’s a vital question you need to ask yourself. Why do you think you need it? If the answer is “because people say that it’s worth it”, you’re probably on the wrong track.
Actually, not all people say that it’s worth it. Oppositely, some experts argue that, after the pandemic, it’s “absolutely not”. But statistical figures still show the considerable increase in employees’ salaries after they get an MBA, and that argument is hard to beat.
However, these figures are only average. In reality, every case is unique. There’s a multitude of factors to consider before making a decision to spend the next two years studying – and then a few more repaying your student loan. So, it’s crucial to understand your goals.
According to experts, the right reasons for pursuing an MBA degree would be:
- to hone the existing skills and attain new ones in order to become a more valuable employee and get a higher salary;
- to build new connections in the business world;
- to make a career pivot after working in other fields.
Other reasons like “my friend said it’s great to have an MBA” or “my parents want me to finally get good education” can be considered as additional pro arguments. Yet, they can’t be determinative.
After you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to start making a roadmap to know how to reach them.
What About the Rankings?
There’s little use in earning an MBA from an unknown school with poor ratings, experts agree. On the contrary, a diploma from a top-rated school like Stanford or Harvard can make a huge change.
So, it totally makes sense to make browsing through the most reliable ratings. That should be the starting point of your research. Here are some of the most popular and respected ones:
- Economist Intelligence Unit (Which MBA?);
- The Financial Times (Full-Time, Executive, and Education MBA rankings);
- Forbes Magazine;
- Business Week;
- MBA Career Guide;
- QS World University Rankings for Business & Management.
All of these rankings have their own pros and cons as each focuses on different aspects. For example, Forbes prioritizes the impact of the degree on an individual’s earnings. On the other hand, The Economist ranking takes into account the students’ overall impressions – including their perceptions on the quality of teaching and the course content.
So, it’s essential to check several rankings before creating a shortlist of the schools you would like to apply to.
Location is the crucial factor when it comes to choosing where to get your degree. Often, it can even outweigh everything else. So, you need to decide early on whether you want to relocate or stay in your home city.
However, bear in mind that not wanting to relocate narrows your choice considerably. Sometimes, the set limits make the whole venture meaningless. Fortunately, there are positive examples – like that of a woman who wanted to stay closer to her family and chose Harvard Business School over Stanford GSB.
When the choice is not that equal, other factors come into play. They include but are not limited to the field you want to develop your career in or the proximity of the chosen school to certain institutions or regions like Silicon Valley. Switzerland, for instance, is great if you work with finances. Barcelona or Munich will be perfect if you have a tech startup in mind.
However, it’s important to remember that English is still the ultimate language in the business world. So, schools located in the US and the UK still have an enormous advantage, regardless of the field of study.
Faculty Staff and Class Size
It isn’t often mentioned in rankings, but the faculty is what largely defines a school. Business schools are not an exception. And it’s not only about the level of the staff members’ expertise: in business, practice is what matters above all.
Still, some schools incline more towards theoretical knowledge. They give a solid basis and you’ll graduate knowing a lot of theory. Still, you may lack practical advice. And that kind of expertise is exactly what most students want from an MBA program.
So, if you’re looking for mentors with lots of practical experience, find out in advance if the potential school of your choice has them among faculty members. However, remember that academic knowledge is also important. So, try to choose a program with a fine blend of both.
Besides, the class size also matters. Imagine learning from the best mentors and professors and not being able to interact with them effectively because the class size is too large! However, bear in mind that popular programs at top-rated institutions are typically in high demand. Therefore, it’s not always possible to have small classes.
Costs, ROI, and Financial Aid
One of the major reasons why getting an MBA is something to be considered carefully is the tuition and other fees. Despite the drop in tuition costs, the figures still soar above $100 000 in top-rated schools. Harvard Business School, for instance, will charge a total of over $111 000 (tuition and other fees combined).
Surely, students usually expect their investments to return in the near future. Yet, the truth is, it typically takes a few years to get that result. Therefore, it’s essential to count the expected ROI of your possible MBA program before making a final choice.
Basically, your MBA ROI is the salary you’re supposed to obtain after graduation compared to the cost of the program. It is not hard to count once you choose several possible programs and check the statistics for average salaries in your field for those with a business school degree. To make things even more simple, check out the available online calculators.
Many prospective students also wonder if they can get financial aid. The answer is yes, but there are a lot of nuances. Harvard Business School, for instance, offers multiple opportunities to its MBA students, from tuition assistance, like need-based scholarships, to financial support for summer internships.
So, don’t rush to the conclusions on seeing the tuition costs – count everything carefully first, and only then decide if it’s all worth it.
Alumni Can Help
Last, but not least – remember that personal impressions and recommendations are often the most reliable. Thus, don’t miss an opportunity to visit the campus, immerse in the atmosphere, talk to the faculty staff and the students.
Sometimes, it turns out that prospective students feel like a fish out of water in one established institution but instantly fall in love with the other for no obvious reason. We are all different. As London Business School grad Paul Heslop wrote, he didn’t fit in at HBS but felt quite at home when he came to the UK.
Apart from visiting the campuses in person, it also helps to get in touch with the school’s alumni, whether in person or via social media. Online, LinkedIn, and, possibly, Facebook can be of great help. Don’t feel shy to get into contact and ask people to help you. Most of them will be only happy to help, practice shows.
Choosing to pursue an MBA degree is a very responsible step that is not easy to take. However, if you suppose that a business school is exactly what you need to advance your career and make your life better, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try.
That said, it’s essential to conduct thorough research before making a choice because a mistake can cost you dearly in all senses. Therefore, take your time and carefully consider what the school can offer you and what benefits you’re going to obtain from your degree. Define a goal, create a roadmap, and count the costs in order to not regret your choice ever.