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Which MBA? Choosing the Business School for your MBA Program

Updated on March 11, 2013

If you are at the crossroads of life where you have to take a call on choosing the business school that would give wings to your dreams, you are not alone. You cannot just know which MBA is right for you. And even if you knew which business schools to target for your MBA, it is never easy to make it to the top business schools. Here is a starter’s guide to warm you up on your hunt for the B-School of your choice.

The Search for the Best Business Schools

If you are serious about launching your career in business, an MBA might just be the edge that you would want over competition. However, one of the characteristics of a good manager is to make sound decisions based on facts. While business decisions may be shrouded in uncertainty, choosing the best business schools may not be all that hazy. Take your time, scour the internet and get information from the right sources to find the right B-Schools for you.

Remember – an MBA is an investment of a lifetime, and the best business schools do not come cheap or easy. If you think you can make the cut, you would be well advised to do your research, find out the top business schools, consider their reputations and brand values, and see if their programs match what you are looking for. The answer to “Which MBA?” cannot be too simplistic.

Business School Ranking

If you are ready to move on to the next step of securing business school admissions, now is the time to study business school rankings. In fact, you would be able to refine your search for the best business schools even further when you consider business school rankings.

Contrary to what the naysayers may say, business school ranking is not a myth – it is a compilation of the key aspects about business school and beyond. What would a prospective management graduate want to know about business school? Which MBA gives the best career prospects and increases the opportunities of landing some of the lucrative business jobs? Which B-Schools are the toughest to get into? What makes B-Schools different from one another? What are the challenges involved in pursuing an MBA program at the various B-Schools? You would not be able to know much of this information unless you have been through Business School Rankings.

However, business school ranking is not the be-all and end-all of your hunt for the best B-Schools. Rankings give you invaluable insights into the way B-Schools function and what you could expect to gain as a management graduate. But you need to look beyond business school rankings to decide which MBA is right for you. You should consider your own innate abilities, aptitude, strengths and weaknesses to see which MBA program would be the right fit for you. Critical thinking is one of the key ingredients of a successful manager. Do your research, look beyond the rankings and identify the MBA programs that would suit your needs and circumstances.

Business School Admissions

This is the most crucial link in the chain that connects you with the top business schools. Admission processes and the criteria differ from one B-School to the other. The selection criteria, the admission processes, and the timeframe involved in admission to a US MBA, for instance, would be much different from those of a UK MBA. When the world has shrunk to a global village, an international MBA might just give you the exposure and the edge to start off to a flyer with a career in business.

GMAT is one of the key requirements for most top business schools. GMAT score has been widely accepted as the benchmark in MBA admissions. You may want to begin your hunt for the top business schools with preparations for GMAT tests, where you would be tested for your verbal ability, numerical skills, reasoning and business aptitude. GMAT exams are used not just in MBA admissions but also for other programs such as masters in management, finance, or accountancy. While it may not be the only selection criterion to B-Schools, a respectable GMAT score increases your chances with MBA admission.

MBA essay is another key bit to the admissions puzzle. Many applicants consider the admission process involved in identifying which MBA suits their personal preferences and circumstances. Some business schools insist on an MBA essay rather than GMAT score, while some would want both a GMAT score as well as MBA essay. You would do well to realize that your academic and professional background does play key roles in the MBA admission process as well.

Which MBA?

So, which MBA would you choose? Beyond the choice of B-Schools, you should also make decisions regarding the type of MBA you would want to pursue and the mode of delivery used.

  • Full-time MBA: This is for graduates who would want to hone their management skills after their Bachelor’s Degrees and give a professional edge to their CV’s. Depending on the country of your choice, a full-time MBA could span between 12 and 24 months. This is definitely a serious commitment on your part, considering the cost involved, the focus required and the efforts to be put forth. One-year MBA programs are more of the norm in Europe, but you could only expect them to be intensive courses with little time to spare whatsoever.
  • Part-time MBA: If you are a working professional who could afford weekend classes or invest in education in evening hours after work, part-time MBA would be the right choice for you. However, do note that you would be required to have some work experience before you apply for the part-time MBA program. If you are looking to apply for an international MBA program abroad, visa requirements and legal restrictions may not allow you to take up part-time study – check with the legal requirements of the country in question before you make a decision.
  • Online-MBA: Virtual classrooms have become a reality when it comes to business education, with many reputed B-Schools offering online MBA programs for students around the world. One of the key advantages of an online MBA is that you have access to some of the best business schools without being constrained by geographic differences. However, you may miss out on real time interactions with peers and hence a key aspect of learning from others’ experiences. If you value the flexibility associated with online MBA on account of your own unique circumstances, this may be just the right choice for you.

There are no right answers to the question of “Which MBA”. It all depends on what you want out of your MBA program, what your personal circumstances are, and what your professional background is. Ultimately, it is all about the ability to look beyond the obvious and think critically to gain the degree of Master of Business Administration you always wanted.


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    • Amber Vyn profile image

      Amber Vyn 

      8 years ago

      I agree with eLearningIndia: This is a really nice post. There's lots of schools and lots of options in terms of what kind of program to choose. Voted 'up' and 'useful'!


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