The Challenge: How to pick an MBA program?

At Apply in the Sky HQ, we’ve been doing some thinking about how people go about selecting MBA programs to apply to.

This of course is an important thought process, not just at the beginning of the admissions season, when we’re figuring out where to apply, but also at the end, when we’re deciding where to go.  And while it’s true that the days of economic growth and multiple acceptance letters still feel more like a thing of the past than of our near future, it’s decision process still worth planning for.

Many of us will find ourselves with more than one proverbial fat envelope in our mailbox.  Others among us might find ourselves wondering whether we’re really so keen on our target schools as we felt back when we were applying.

I for one definitely went to a disappointing admit weekend at a school that shall remain unnamed — and it had been one of my first choices!  So that made me wonder:

How do we really choose an MBA program?

And notice the difference here… We’re not talking about how we should select programs, but rather about how we actually go about doing it.

On a high level, there has got to be some compromise between where we want to go, and where we can get in.  It’s a delicate balancing act — finding the best MBA programs within our reach, without underselling ourselves or ending up at the close of the application season entirely empty handed.

But what is the “best” school?  Of course we mean, not the best school in general, but the “best for ourselves and our goals”…  But is that really what we’re thinking about when we pick our so-called top choices?

Rankings immediately come to mind, and great brands that capture the hearts and minds of applicants and employers alike.  With great brands come great alumni networks, resources, and career opportunities, but if we find ourselves at a school that does not truly fit our needs and personality, even a top-ranked MBA program can produce very little value.

Similarly, if a program is truly right for us, it will open the right doors and provide us with much more value than its brand or ranking might otherwise lead us to believe.

Well, you’ve probably noticed, we’re not about to come up with an answer to the question here, but we do want to put it out there, if only to get people thinking.

Expect more posts along these lines, as we look to demystify what drives our MBA decisions.  It’s our goal to figure out how we make these decisions, in order to figure out how to make better decisions.  We’ll keep you posted on our findings.

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This entry was posted in Business School, MBA Programs, MBA Rankings, School Selection, Tips & Hints and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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