Picking an MBA program is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to your career. Designed to improve your understanding of business administration and help you develop managerial, analytical and problem-solving skills, an MBA program will make you a competitive candidate in almost any industry. So how can you ensure that you’re picking a great program and taking every factor into account? The answer is to have a solid game plan in place before you start your applications.
Here are the key steps to take when selecting an MBA program.
1. Determine what you want from an MBA program
In order to get the most from any MBA program, you need a clear, focused goal. This means having a strong sense of what you want to do with your degree and finding a program that will help you develop the skills you need to get there. For example, if you’re interested in working in a particular industry, you may find that a specialized MBA program in an area like marketing, accounting or human resources might be good be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you’re not sure how you want to apply your MBA degree, a general MBA program could be a better fit, particularly if you’re in the process of changing careers or considering doing so at some point down the line.
2. Research different types of MBA programs
Once you have a sense of what you want to get out of your MBA program, it’s time to start researching different types of programs. This includes learning about more specialized types of MBA degrees, looking at both part-time and full-time options to determine which one fits your schedule and also determining whether you want to go with a traditional program or an online one. Although you might already have a clear idea of what type of program you want to pursue, doing this type of research will ensure that you’re making a truly informed decision and finding the program that best fits your needs.
3. Ask for advice from current MBA candidates and graduates
Getting advice from other MBA candidates is a great way to gain a better understanding of different programs and to find out what you can expect from business school in general. The best way to approach this is by reaching out to friends or peers who are currently enrolled in an MBA program or have recently graduated from one. If you don’t have any friends in business school, that’s okay too. You can ask program administrators at school you’re considering to put you in touch with a current MBA candidate who can answer your questions.
4. Pick an MBA program that closely matches your needs
With all the information in place, it’s time to assess the different programs you’re considering and find the one that best fits your needs. This means taking into account your schedule, goals and personal finances and determining which programs work best for you. Although you’ll undoubtedly have a top choice, be sure to apply to at least three to five programs to give yourself the best chance of success.
Picking an MBA program requires a focused approach and an open mind. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find the one that’s right for you.