Which business school?

Choosing a business school to attend is not an easy task! I did this about 18 months ago and my list of criteria were almost a mile long. It depends on what you want to achieve and what matters to you the most. If you are in the US for example, going to an Ivy League school may be most important as employers tend to look down on other schools. An American-based friend of mine told me that at times, it is better not to have an MBA than to have an MBA from just any school. This may be controversial and rather harsh but this is just people’s perception. Also the grades you get tend to be crucial in the US as employers want to know your final GPA  (grade point average). I dare say it is a little more relaxed in the UK. Yes, going to the best school is great but it depends on what “angle” of best you mean…..

I wanted a flexible/distance learning option so key considerations for me were:

  • Number of years in management experience required (I only had 3 years at the time so I was looking for some leniency)
  • Calibre of students on the course (the higher the more I will gain, a selfish criteria!)
  • The level of contact with classmates and lecturers (number of workshops, online discussions etc)
  • School’s reputation (Top 100 in the world)
  • Ease of access to online tools and textbooks
  • % of students that actually complete the course
  • Quality of the school’s website
  • Cost and payment options (also opportunity for scholarships)

 The Economist was very useful for MBA rankings. There were other minor considerations but the above basically sum it up. Being a working mother, I needed the support of my classmates and tutors to help me along otherwise there was a high chance that I’d fall behind. When I eventually chose a school, I had to make trade-offs. For instance, the cost ranked higher than the school’s reputation (I only had a certain amount I could pay and no more); I wanted a school that would take someone with 3 years management experience but I avoided schools that took folks with less than 2 years experience. This fulfilled the ‘calibre of students’ criteria. So it was a lot of give and take. Over a year later, I really feel like I made the right choice and found the right balance that feeds my personal development journey.

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