Look at MBA Rankings and Ratings
MBA rankings and ratings, such as the QS Global 200 Business School Report, give you an idea of which MBA programs have the best reputations. MBA rankings and ratings also give you a sense of how selective a school is, including the median GMAT score, average GPA and average amount of work experience for current students. If you have an idea of what industry you want to work in after you get your MBA, look for rankings also rate schools based on suibject areas such as Information Systems Management or Entrepreneurship.
Choosing MBA Programs to Research
Use the rankings to choose a dozen schools you would like to research, and put them in a list. When drafting your initial list, make sure that your choices represent cross section of schools (reach, target and safety schools). Later, you should narrow that list down to four to six schools (which also includes reach, target and safety schools).
Here are some things you should consider as you add schools to your initial list and before you go on to do more in-depth research:
- Which type of MBA program (part-time, full-time, executive) is the best fit for your current situation
- Your reasons for getting an MBA
- Your future career plans
- The learning styles that suit you best
- If and where you are willing to move in order to attend an MBA program
Once you have a better idea of the type of MBA program you’re looking for, it’s time to research the MBA programs that will meet your needs.
How to Research MBA Programs
Useful resources for researching MBA programs include: guidebooks, business school websites, and in-house admission blogs. Information sessions and MBA events (such as Connect 1-2-1 and the World MBA Tour), are another great way to research schools since you can get your questions answered by an admissions officer.
Here are some things to look for as you research MBA programs:
- The curriculum of each business school, particularly electives and concentrations that will help you meet your career goals.
- Job placement data, including companies where graduates have landed and average salary. Salary data can help you calculate your return on investment.
- Teaching style. Does the school use the case method? Are most of the classes based on lectures or hands-on experience? Consider whether the teaching style of each school is compatible with your own personal learning style.
- GMAT requirement and median GMAT score.
As you do your research, you may want to write your reasons for considering each school. You can then refer to these notes as you write your essays and prepare for your admissions interviews.
Once you narrow your list to 4 to 7 schools, you should consider making MBA campus visits. You can call each school or visit their websites to find out how to arrange visits. For more information on how to use MBA campus visits as a research tool to inform your application answers, check out our article The MBA Campus Visit.