Choosing a Business
School and choosing an MBA program are two related matters. Remember that
getting an MBA is one thing. Getting one that is respected and recognized might
be a different thing. The respect and recognition that a program has is
obviously related to the status of the school that provides it.
How well known is the
will probably need to check on this in several ways, rather than relying on
one. Here are some of them:
- Ask around, particularly in the
communities that are of interest to you. So if you are planning an MBA to
get a job in a particular industry or sector of business, ask around in
- Check the rankings of schools
that are sometimes published in business magazines.
- How long has the school been
- Check the press. Most major
papers and journals carry regular features/surveys of management
education. See how frequently the school is mentioned. You can also do
searches for a school online.
How well respected is
may not indicate respect or vice versa, so check what people think about a
school. The rankings will give you some indication, but remember that the
criteria used in assessing schools in this way may not be relevant to you.
Also, does the school belong to the main accreditation bodies like EFMD, AACSB,
AMBA, ABS. Is the school a member of any groups of schools, such as those
running joint programs, arranging student exchanges, etc. If so, what is the
standing of the others in its group? Good schools tend to work with other good
Does the school have a
good reputation in other things?
obvious things to check are research and publications.
major school will have a commitment to research, and research tends to result
in publications. Be careful about both of these things since a school which is
primarily a research establishment may not give much attention to teaching, but
you will expect to find that at least some of the faculty are engaged in
research in their subject area. You might also hope to find that some of the
faculty have published books. Well known books do a lot for the prominence of
the school from which they come, but as a student, don't expect to see a lot of
a faculty member who is a also a well known author!
What does the school
might seem a rather odd question since it obviously runs an MBA.
does it just run one or several? Does it also offer non-qualification executive
programs, short courses, or other types of courses? Check out the school's full
prospectus, not only the MBA literature, for in general the broader the range
of activities, the more established and the better known the school will be. Be
particularly careful if the school only does one thing, such as a distance
program, as there is a general belief that a distance program will be better if
derived from or based on a conventional program. The same might apply if the
school only runs a specialist program, unless it is a very specialized
The above relate to
the status of the school, but there are other things which will be important to
Is the school a
the school have its own separate and dedicated facilities or does it share
facilities with other activities in its parent Institution (e.g., University)?
This will have a significant influence on what it will feel like to be a
student in the school.
Will the school
provide good service?
are two aspects, the academic quality, and the customer orientation of the
school. The first is difficult to check without asking others who have some
experience of the school and its program. The latter is easier to get a view
on, and remember if the school does not treat you well when you are a potential
customer, will it improve if you go there?
easy does the school make it for you to contact them? How do they respond when
you do contact them? Write, fax, or email the school and see how long it takes
to get a reply. Phone them and ask to speak to the program director or
administrator, and see if they put you through. Ask some difficult questions
and see what response you get. Ask if you can speak to some recent graduates
and will they give you names or contact details? Some may have a policy of not
giving out names and addresses, but will they pass your name and details to one
of their graduates in your area and suggest that they might be willing to
contact you? Ask if you can call in to see them and will they arrange for you
to see someone?
Will the school take
an interest in your future?
you are looking to change your job as a result of your MBA, you will want to
know if the school will provide help to its students as they reach the end of
their program, through placement opportunities, recruitment fairs, and other
resources. Does the school make arrangements for recruiters to meet/get details
on new graduates? Does the school maintain an active alumni association? Does
the association provide support for graduates seeking new jobs?
What will the school
expect of you?
you need a laptop? Does the school provide adequate facilities? Will you need
to find accommodation? To what extent will the school help out in this? Will
the school advise you on potential loans or scholarship funds?
with permission from The MBA Program Information Site (www.mbainfo.com), a comprehensive
source of information on MBA programs.