For persons planning to enroll in an MBA program, a number of obstacles stand in the way that must be overcome. Among them are the person’s background that determines if the candidate qualifies for the degree, such as having the baccalaureate degree with a satisfactory grade point average, and having sufficient work experience. Assuming that these issues are satisfactory, three obstacles remain: Finding the appropriate MBA program; earning a good grade on the GMAT, the admission test required by most quality MBA programs; and paying for the degree. The purpose of this article is to help candidates overcome the obstacle of finding the appropriate MBA program.
With several thousand MBA programs Top MBA programs. available, investigating each one is an impossible task. Simply visiting each school’s web site is not very helpful. Each one extolls the virtues of its programs but much important information that should affect your decision is missing. For that reason, you can turn you attention to a free, comprehensive public service that was designed specifically to reduce to a manageable size the huge list of MBA programs and find those that satisfy your requirements. The service provides a powerful search engine for this purpose. To use the search engine, you must be a registered user. Registering is simple, costless, safe and secure, and offers many benefits.
One of the first things you have to decide is the location where you wish to study. Are you limited to a small geographic region because of job or family obligations, or can you consider MBA programs anywhere in the world? You can select programs worldwide or limit yourself to a specific country, several countries, a region of the united states, or an individual state. It is only a matter of checking off boxes to indicate your choice. Having selected the geographic region, a button click gives you the list of all MBA programs there. Don’t rush into this; the list can be very long and not very useful.
Next you should decide what type of MBA program you want. Five types are available, and you may be interested in one or more: full-time, part-time, accelerated, executive, and distance learning. Most full-time programs require two academic years of study. Accelerated programs are typically full-time and can range from 12 months to 18 months. Part-time programs can require three or more years, depending on the school; they are typically attended by students who work full-time and cannot devote all their time to study. Executive programs vary in length but they are limited to students who have significant executive or management experience. These are often intensive weekend programs with students continuing to work in their executive capacities. Distance learning programs, also called on-line programs, can vary significantly, in that some require a regular schedule of classes with a fixed calendar while others may be individually paced, with student studying at their own schedules. Some distance learning programs may require a limited time at the school’s site, while others are entirely on-line with no face-to-face meetings.
The MBA degree is a general business degree preparing students for management at any level of an organization, up to Chief executive officer. That means that students study a variety of subjects, including accounting, finance, marketing, management, organization behavior, production, statistics, business law, and courses such as policy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Many programs, however, offer concentrations, typically in the form of two to four elective courses in the second year of study. Common concentrations are in the usual fields mentioned above but can also include subjects like real estate, insurance, and specialized courses such as sport management, tourism management, health management, human resource management, and many others. Some students avoid a concentration and take a variety of electives to gain a broad background. Others prefer to concentrate in a specific field.
Having selected where you want to study, and the type of MBA program that interests you, you can now access the various concentrations and select one or leave this alone and see the variety of concentrations that may be available in various programs that interest you.
The truly unique aspect, and the one that will finally guide your search to your ideal MBA programs, is your ability to specify which MBA program attributes you consider important. From attributes such as GMAT score of students, starting salaries of graduates, percent of applicants rejected, size of entering class, and many others, you should decide if the attribute is unimportant to you, very important, or somewhere in between. At this point you can click on a button to get a list of schools ranked according to the attributes you selected. But you can refine your search even further. From a list of screening criteria you can indicate your preferences. For example, do you prefer a public or private university? Which accreditation do you prefer? Do you prefer more men or women in the classes? Specify too many criteria and you may find there is no schools that can meet them all.
Initially selecting too many attributes can easily lead to an empty list. Specifying nonsensical combination of preferences can also yield zero results. For example, selecting a preference for private schools together with a preference for low tuition rates is unlikely to provide a meaningful list of choices, since private school tuition tends to be higher than that of public state-supported universities and colleges.
It is best to start with two to four important quality attributes after specifying the geographic location and type of programs in which you want to study. Two to four attributes in a wide geographic area can yield a list of many schools to consider, but now it becomes easy to add another attribute or criterion preference and reduce the list further. Your new selection can immediately reduce the ranked list of schools to a manageable number.