By Natalie Rodgers,
Pursuing an MBA is a fantastic opportunity to expand your expertise and create more opportunities for employment in your field. However, with so many different programs and schools to choose from, it can be hard to even know which programs to apply for and what differentiates a great MBA program from a poor one.
Before you begin this big step in your educational journey, here are some questions to ask when it comes to searching for your MBA program:
What Does My Schedule Look Like?
Many people who pursue MBA programs are already employed, taking part in an internship or going back to school after starting a family. These are all commitments that require your time, attention and focus—much like your MBA program will. When you’re looking for a program, you’ll want to make sure that you pick one that offers classes that will fit into your schedule. Some schools offer MBA programs with evening and night classes—an easier addition to the various activities and commitments that happen during the day—while others require your full attention nearly every day of the week. There are also different types of MBAs that will have different time commitments. Full-time, part-time, flexible and online MBAs all offer different time commitments and requirements.
Many schools will also require you to take part in internships, practicums and other on-site professional job experiences. These experiences will not only take time and commitment, but will be required to earn your degree. Look into the requirements of what your MBA program wants and decide if you can realistically complete these expectations. The hands-on experience that an MBA offers can be incredibly useful for your future career, but a program that requires more of your time than you can manage will do more harm than good in the long run.
Will this Specific Degree Actually Help Me?
An MBA is meant to give you an edge in the job market, so you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of your program. For example, if you want to work in cybersecurity or health administration upon graduation; you’ll want to consider getting an MBA with a concentration in business intelligence or health administration. To ensure future success in your desired job field and the education you’ll need to get there, you’ll want to pick an MBA that will best serve your purpose.
There are seven common concentrations available to MBA students, but not every school will have or be limited to these seven focuses. The concentrations consist of general management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, business intelligence, health administration and human resources. There is also an eighth concentration of sorts, an executive MBA, designed for those who have at least a decade’s experience in the business world and want to pursue an executive business position.
Assess what you want out of your future career and pick your concentration accordingly.
What’s My Learning Style?
Especially after the events of COVID-19, remote learning has never been more popular. Some students learn best in an online atmosphere where they can record notes, rewatch lectures and take the time to digest materials, while other students struggle to learn if they aren’t in a physical classroom setting. You may also learn better knowing that you are close to your home, have school-sponsored tutoring resources available and smaller classroom sizes for easier ways to connect with your peers and professors. Whatever you need, you’ll want to take these things into consideration to set yourself up for the most ideal learning environment possible.
What Do Past Students Have to Say?
Finding alumni testimonials can also be helpful in picking your future MBA. Students who testify about their experiences usually do so to help prospective students to avoid the mistakes and pursue the opportunities that they may have missed. Positive and negative reviews from past students can be found on many online message boards such as College Confidential, Wall Street Oasis and GMAT Club. Additional websites like Rate My Professors can also be crucial in deciding if the classes and educators you’ll be working with will be willing to help you in your educational journey.
Keep in mind that negative reviews will always be present when it comes to forums, but seeing an overall consensus can give you a good sense of whether this program will work for you.
Sources: Coursea, Forté, OnlineMBA