How To Choose An MBA Program For You
Choosing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) course that can help you reach your career goals can spare you wasted time and money. Consider the following four topics and their related questions when determining which MBA program to enroll in.
1) Your expectations from the program
While the MBA is in a sense a brand and one can be expected to learn the various aspects of management regardless of the specific program, not every program is the same. An MBA with a finance specialization may not prepare you for entrepreneurship, and a technology MBA won't prepare you for the finance department. Consider the following questions when weighing potential MBA programs.
- Can this course give you the experience you are looking for?
- Does the syllabus include topics that are relevant to your chosen career?
- What electives does the program offer and are you interested in them?
- Is the content of the course suited to your needs?
- Do you have the required aptitude to successfully finish the course?
- Does the program offer practical training and real life experiences?
2) Your physical circumstances
Make no mistake, an MBA program is a graduate degree program, which some students may find to be intense. Remember to consider how you can make time to fit an MBA program into your life. Will you take a full-time MBA program or will you work and enroll in an Executive MBA program instead?
- Can you do the full-time two year course or do you need a shortened course?
- Is the program in your area or will you need to travel daily?
- Are the timings of the course suitable for you?
- Are you free to join the course on its start date?
3) Financial considerations
An MBA program can be an expensive proposition for some students. While some graduates have earned higher salaries after earning their degree, not every applicant can expect to receive higher pay.
- Can you afford the MBA program fees?
- Will you have to borrow a loan to cover the costs and do you even want to?
- Will the living expenses, travel costs, and other expenses involved put an immense financial burden on you?
- If you do take a loan, will you be able to bear the interest on the loan during the program and how long will it be before you can repay it?
- Can you expect to make a return on your investment?
4) Impact on your lifestyle
If you have already been working in the professional world, attending an MBA program can require you to shift back into a student's mindset. This may be hard for some students, especially those who may be working while attending class and those who may not have worked during school before.
- Will you be able to balance work and studying?
- Will you have to give up your job?
- How will a particular course affect your family life?
For students who may not be able to attend a local MBA program, or who may not be able to attend the program without postponing their career, online MBA programs may be available from some schools offering either distance or hybrid classes. For students who can take class full-time, accelerated programs may be available from some schools. These programs offer larger course loads and can often be completed in a shorter period of time than the standard MBA program.
Sources and further reading:
"Enter the Entrepreneur: Executive Summary," EMFD, 2011, http://www.efmd.org/images/stories/efmd/downloadables/Tomorrows_MBA_2011_Exec_Summary.pdf