While the MBA is a very high demand qualification and holds a lot of weight, it still depends on which one you have. Choosing the right MBA program will have a direct impact on your employability and how well you internalize the core principles of the program. This will eventually have an impact on your whole career trajectory and competence.
The program you choose will also affect your student experience, and choosing the wrong one could throw you off track, leaving you without a direction, diploma, and with additional debt. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider when picking an MBA program.
Specialized or General?
This is a very important question and one you need to start looking at right now. We would also advise against going for a general MBA just because you couldn’t find a specialization. This is because many employers will favor those with a specialization. They know that they’ll be able to bring something different to the table and a specific set of expertise. Having a specialization will rarely hurt you because you will still have the basic skills of an MBA. On the other hand, not having a specialization will reduce the number of opportunities that you have presented to you.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of specializing, we suggest you read this article. This will allow you to get a clearer idea of which option is the best, and why employers tend to go for applicants with a specialization first.
Online or Offline?
There was a time not too long ago when online programs still weren’t recognized as legitimate by some. Now, we can see a future when they’ll rival in-person classes in attendance. Online classes are now more sophisticated than ever. Advancements have been made in technology and on how these classes are taught to make them more immersive and complete. There is not a single employer that will scoff at a diploma that was obtained through an online program. There is no way for them to know unless you went to a college that only offers online programs.
The reputation of the school is what will matter the most here. If you get your diploma from a school with a good reputation and an MBA, then you will get the same recognition as someone who got the diploma in person.
Other benefits of getting your degree online include reduced overall costs, flexibility, and the speed at which you can get your qualifications. Most of these programs will allow you to get your diploma much faster than through a traditional program, and more conveniently as well.
This doesn’t mean that they’re better than offline programs in every way, however. The social aspect is something a lot of people look forward to in an MBA program. There’s also the networking aspect. However, you should know that current communication tools make it just as easy to network right now and that online classes have the benefit of bringing people from very different backgrounds and markets. This could make for a more diverse network and one that would allow you to find opportunities you wouldn’t even be aware of otherwise.
Prestige and Brand Recognition
Prestige is important no matter what type of program you decide to go for. Prestige is subjective, but plays a major role. It will have an impact when people read your resume, and you will have much less hassle convincing someone to read the rest if you went to an easily recognizable school.
It’s also not only about the rankings. A school might have great rankings for a specific program, but be largely unknown abroad. So, this is something you’ll have to consider whether you’re an international student or want to get involved in international business.
Return on Investment
However, you can’t just spend money on any program without first looking at whether it’s going to be a good return on your investment. You want a program that will give you great chances for employment with a verifiable track record for results. You also want a school that will go the extra mile to make sure that you get a position as soon as possible.
This also means that going to a school with lower tuition doesn’t automatically translate to higher ROI. If you can’t get employed anywhere or get no support, then you’ll be back to square one, only with debt this time. Better programs have greater costs, but often pay off in the long run.
Culture and Personality
You absolutely have to pick a school that fits with your personality. This is about as important as choosing the right program. So, answer a few questions before you make a decision, such as, what’s the overall feel of the school? What type of people does it attract? Do you sense that the environment is more competitive or collaborative? What do alumni and current students have to say?
It’s very important that you don’t stick to what the tour guide has to say during visits. You have to speak with other people there and ask them questions about the school. Are they happy with the resources? How about the teaching staff? Are there things they’d like to change and things they’re unhappy with?
This will give you a much more realistic view of the school and allow you to get a real idea of what you can expect. Also, ‘fun’ should never be a criterion for picking a school. Sure, you want to pick a school where you’ll be able to at least have some sort of social life. But if you feel like you have difficulty with discipline and focus, going somewhere where you’ll be able to concentrate on your studies first and foremost should be your main priority.
These are just some of the things you’ll have to give special attention to if you decide to go for an MBA program. Ensuring that you make the right choice now will allow you to increase your chances of success during and after your studies.