MBA programs are a dependable way to learn more about your field of business while also advancing your career. And yet it is also true that not all programs are equal. Depending on your line of work, your budget, and your plans for the future one program may be significantly more beneficial than another.
It’s all about knowing what to look for. Connections, budget, fields of expertise. Every program is a little bit different, and in this article, we take an up-close look at what qualities you should search for when choosing an MBA program.
Much can be said for and against choosing a school on the basis of its brand name status. On the one hand, a well-known school isn’t necessarily any better than an obscure university, or even just your run-of-the-mill state college.
But while this is true, it’s also true that academics aren’t the only thing that matters when you are searching for an MBA program. Sure, you can get a fine education at Anonymous University, but that probably isn’t going to mean as much to the hiring agent who is reviewing your resume. They won’t scan through your curriculum.
They’ll just look at what school you went to and move on.
Going to an easily recognizable school can be very handy in this regard. While you shouldn’t make pedigree your only selection decision, consider it a prominent feather in the cap of the universities that you are choosing between.
Here’s a concept any business student should be able to understand: your degree should be able to yield a good return on your investment. Graduate degrees can easily cost $50,000-a number that can sore considerably depending on where you go to school.
If you aren’t going to see a return on that investment in the relatively near future, it’s probably not worth it at all. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can make your degree more affordable. Selecting an AACSB online MBA is typically a good way to reduce costs, as they have less overhead than in-person universities.
You can also:
Work as a teacher’s aid: Graduate students who assist professors or even teach classes at the universities receive reduced or even free tuition. This may not be an option for people who have already begun their careers, but if you have the availability it is one of the most dependable ways to make your university experience more affordable.
Speak to your employer: Many employers offer stipends to cover expenses for ongoing education efforts. The actual amount of money you can expect to receive from your employer may depend on the program you choose, and your company’s policies. However, it’s a good idea to speak with your employer before selecting an educational map so you can make sure they will cover whatever program you pick.
Networking is an important though also rather abstract consideration that should be on your mind as you shop around for a university. On the one hand, meeting the right people can go a long way towards advancing your career. Graduate business programs are a very natural way to make connections with people who are operating in the same industry as you.
On the other hand, networking comes with no guarantees. You can’t know who is going to be at a university until you get there. What’s more, there’s no telling how valuable those connections will turn out to be.
Networking is still useful, but if it’s a university’s sole attraction you may be better served looking elsewhere.
Finally, it’s crucial to make sure that the university you are considering has a program that is suited to your interests. MBAs can take a wide range of different forms. While any MBA might look good on a resume, only they may not all open the same doors.
Before you get too attached to any specific school, get a clear idea of what you are hoping to study, and actively search for universities that are known for that specialized curriculum.
Not only will this ensure that you acquire skills that will actually be useful to you on the job, but it will also mean your degree will be as optimized towards your career goals as possible. MBAs are expensive. It’s not worth it to get a degree that isn’t perfectly suited to your ambitions.
Featured image: Julia M Cameron, Pexels.