There are numerous great lines in the comedy mockumentary film This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984). But one funny line that slips past a lot of non-Americans is when Ian Faith, the manager of the fake heavy-metal U.K. band, tells the ill-informed musicians not to worry about their Boston gig being cancelled as it's not a big college town.
On the contrary, Boston is the biggest college town in the world per head of population, third only in actual student numbers in the U.S. to the far bigger metropolitan areas of New York and Los Angeles. You can't throw a stick in Boston without hitting a student of some variety, though I don't recommend throwing sticks at people in Boston. Or any other place for that matter.
There are literally dozens of universities, business schools, private colleges, liberal arts colleges and more dotted all around one of America's oldest cities. There are approximately 24,000 international students in the city and a proportion of those will be attracted to the MBA courses there.
Narrow your options
But with such a wide variety of choices, how can those international MBA candidates, who already know the region they want to study in, start to narrow down their options? For example, an Indian MBA candidate has whittled down her choice to studying in or near Boston. Perhaps she has family there, or likes the idea of being close to major cities with clear links to varying job opportunities.
In total, there are 29 institutions offering quality MBA programs in the northeast U.S., according to TopMBA Scorecard, the online personalized business school ranking tool. It is a region that includes all of New England, New York and Pennsylvania. There are clearly too many schools to apply to, and even contacting all of them would be a very time-consuming process. Ideally the candidate would like a shortlist of five or six schools. So how to narrow this down? Given that she wants to work in e-commerce or within financial services, Scorecard shows the most relevant MBA programs for her interests (in alphabetical order):
Babson College, Olin Graduate school of Business
Bentley University, McCallum Graduate School of Business
Boston College, Carroll School of Management
University at Buffalo School of Management
Fordham Graduate School of Business
University of Rochester, Simon Graduate School of Business
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Yale School of Management
Scorecard lets you personalise this search even further. Candidates can rank these schools according to many different criteria. Let's say that the school's reputation with recruiters, and career placement opportunities are important to them, they can rank these results accordingly:
1. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
2. Yale School of Management
3. Boston College, Carroll School of Management
4. Babson College, Olin Graduate school of Business
5. University of Rochester, Simon Graduate School of Business
6. Bentley University, McCallum Graduate School of Business
7. Fordham Graduate School of Business
8. University of Buffalo School of Management
[A school's reputation with employers is based on the QS Global Recruiter's Top 100 Business Schools Survey. Career placement is based on percentage of graduates employed within three months (weighted 25%) and average salary upon graduation (75%)]
By taking a look at the business school rankings according to recruiters, the 2009 Top 200 Global Business Schools: The Employer's Choice, a candidate can look to see what employers think of each of the business schools in the region. They'll be interested to notice that most of the schools in their shortlist are highly regarded by the hundreds of MBA recruiters that QS interviewed for the report while there are others in the region that the candidate may not have considered.