To decide which MBA to apply for, it is common for you to think about the rankings, which university is best known, which country you want to travel to, or which institution all your acquaintances or the people you admire studied at. Unfortunately, these criteria should not be the main ones when deciding the right one for you: the one that will help you grow more professionally and personally, according to your goals. We focus on achieving your professional fulfillment, taking into account your life experiences and your trajectory until today. In this article we will give you some tips on how to choose your MBA.
1. What company do you want to work for?
What do you want to do once you finish your master’s studies? Although it may seem or may think that all MBAs are the same, each program has a very different profile and approach. Recruiters from different companies are clear about the kind of preparation they are looking for in prospects and, therefore, have a preference for graduates of one university over another. According to The New York Times , Fuqua (Duke) graduates are hired by Apple , as at least ten company executives graduated from their program. In addition, P&G has a strong relationship with Kelley (Indiana University), and in 2014 Amazon hired a large percentage of graduates from Ross (Michigan). In the same way, consulting firms like Bain opt for graduates of prestigious programs.
If you are clear about which company you would like to have a career in, the next step is to research these companies. The websites of several well-known organizations display the resumes of their managers, and sometimes you can find trends or patterns about which programs they graduate from . It is also a good idea to network with these contacts, and ask them questions like: “If I wanted to work in this company, what program do you think would be the most competitive?” This will give you a lot of insight and a clearer vision of the way forward.
2. What job do you want?
If you are not sure which company to work for, think about the sector in which you want to work: maybe you like consulting, marketing, finance … An MBA will give you a holistic preparation, but at the same time focused on an industry in Specific: the profile of the program can guide a large number of graduates towards the same path. For example, US News shows statistics showing that half of Yale School of Management MBA graduates were engaged in consulting, a percentage equivalent to INSEAD MBA graduates. From this same program, 1 in 5 graduates were dedicated to technology, media and telecommunications (Allen, 2018).
Also, even if it is not the end goal of your dream job, you must take into account the salary level. Not because of a specific program the majority of graduates dedicate themselves to a certain sector, they are the best paid in that profession. In this case, LinkedIn is a suitable tool to follow the trajectory of the MBA graduates to which you plan to apply; There may be few alumni of a program in a position, but with higher remuneration than graduates of another MBA.
3. Institutional support and location
At this point it is essential to reflect on how much you are interested in or need institutional support and if the program offers it. Are there any economic benefits or agreements with the institution? Do companies make visits to the university, and does the latter offer dialogue experiences or contact with the best organizations? With which companies is there direct contact? In this regard, it also analyzes whether you need a business incubator, or experience to undertake, how does the institution contribute to your educational experience? Among these supporting universities, Harvard provides its students with certain facilities if they are interested in undertaking start-ups.
Another point to take into account are the benefits of the university’s location. For example, study in Paris or Milan if you want to dedicate yourself to the fashion company; or in California if technology is your thing.
4. How do I fit into the program?
Having defined and verified your list of programs, and as a culminating point of reflection , think about the values and qualities that are forged in the programs and how they are reflected in those who have graduated from it. Advocating for certain ideals, educational models, and student profile is also important. Teamwork versus competitive work, or financial success versus social commitment are factors to weigh in your different options, with due balance in your professional goals.
Many MBAs offer Webinars and alternatives to speak directly with the admissions committee and answer all your questions. Other valid options are to visit in person, attend MBA fairs and register for events organized by universities. In any case, remember that you must be sure of two things: that the program is right for you, and that you are suitable for the program.
5. International student
Some universities have statistics on their proportion of international students. This is sometimes incomplete, or it will not provide you with additional information. It is your job to do more in-depth research on the number of students in your profile (Spanish-speaking) in the MBA of your dreams . This, more than giving you an idea of how you will integrate into the educational environment, will give you an idea of the academic and professional opportunities available at the location.
To do this, you will also have to find out about the immigration policies of the country in which you will study. Try to review the specific requirements for each specific nationality, how your stay as a student will work, if you can work together, and, if you want to emigrate, what are the next steps to graduate.
6. What have I done so far?
If you are already clear on these points and prefer a specific MBA, find out what kind of profile a certain program is looking for. Put your cards on the table: what tools, skills and abilities define you? What decisions have you made so far and how have they shaped you? How have you prepared and contributed to society? Remember that the admissions committee will review your application thoroughly, and they want to see who you really are and what brought you here. If there are aspects that weaken your profile to a certain extent, find out how to cover them and how long it will take.