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5 Factors to Consider About the Business Schools You Plan to Apply to
Over the years, I’ve seen many GMATers define their Business School plans in the following (overly-simplified) way: “I plan to apply to Top15 Schools...” Unfortunately, that is a remarkably VAGUE plan. While it’s understandable that a Program’s reputation and ‘ranking’ are important, it’s possible (and even likely) that there are OTHER more-important factors to consider when applying to Business School.
1) Is there a particular company that you want to work for or industry that you want to work in? Certain degrees (and even certain specific Programs) are ‘feeders’ into particular industries.
This has more to do with YOUR specific career goals than anything else. Earning an MBA requires a significant investment of time, money and energy on your part. If you’re not clear about why you want the MBA and what you plan to do with it, then you will likely not know whether you’re actually going for the best MBA for you or not.
2) Do you plan to live and work in a particular part of the world? Certain degrees have more alumni-network ‘access’ and value in certain areas.
While the inter-connectivity created by the Internet means that you’ll never truly be isolated in your business dealings, there’s still something to be said for the value of localized alumni contacts and in-person dealings. An MBA from a well-established Program will likely carry more influence in a closer geographic setting than a location that is farther away.
3) Do you want to go to School full-time or part-time?
This might seem fairly obvious, since you’ll have to decide whether you want to work while you’re in School or not. However, the type of Program can also be a big factor in admissions acceptance rates and how well your application may be received.
4) Are you willing to relocate (potentially a great distance)? Would you be comfortable with a Program that was primarily online?
Uprooting your entire existence (and potentially that of family members) would be a rather large undertaking. There might be a Program that is more geographically “friendly” (re: physically closer) to your current living situation. With a Program that is primarily online, the convenience of attending that Program could out-weigh whatever ‘networking’ you might miss out on.
5) Will Scholarship possibilities be a factor? Would you consider a ‘lower-ranked’ Program if it offered a larger Scholarship possibility.
The cost of an MBA from many institutions can run well into the low 6-figure price range. Scholarships of any type (either full OR partial) can help make it far easier to deal with the economics of attending School. To that end, receiving a larger Scholarship for one School might be preferable to receiving no Scholarship from a more well-known one.
It’s okay if you don’t have answers to any of these questions just yet. However, to maximize the value of your future MBA, you will have to do the necessary research and planning. Of course, your GMAT score will factor in a great deal on all of these decisions, but you probably already knew that.
GMAT assassins aren’t born, they’re made,