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Choosing the Right MBA - Location/Format/Rankings/ROI

Location is a factor: A university may have top-notch facilities and highly renowned academic staff and still be the wrong choice for you. Research shows that location is a prime factor when it comes down to picking a business school. Make sure that you are comfortable with the geographic area in which the university is located. For example, if you are bound by family or otherwise you may opt for a school that is closer to home. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an international and diverse milieu as well as new cultural experiences, an overseas MBA may be a good option.

The industry you want to work for may also determine your choice of university location. If finance and investments are your prime interests, then you’ll be advised to choose a university in one of the cities where the markets are based – New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo. It is important that you pick the geographic area that best fits your needs as you are likely to spend longer than two years there – a large number of MBA graduates decide to stay and pursue their career within the area of their alma mater.

Format: If you have decided to cross ‘the point of no return’ and change your career completely or if you want to stay within the same industry but change the location, a full time MBA programme may be the best choice for you. This kind of format requires full commitment, but returns on the investment are also guaranteed. The part-time MBA is for those who want to advance their careers (without changing their professional venue and starting from scratch) but cannot afford to take ‘leave of absence’. To sum up – a full-time programme is designed for career changers, while the part-time option is designed for career enhancers. You can also choose between a 12, 15, 18 or 22-month programme. The different length is determined by the pace and intensity of the teaching process.

Rankings: Rankings inform perspective students about a university’s or a business school’s prestige. They are a good starting point when searching for a suitable alma mater and may give you a good idea of the global MBA market. However, you should bear in mind that there can be large variations in the different rankings published, depending on the source used (the Financial Times or the Economist Intelligence Unit in the UK, or Business Week and the Wall Street Journal in the USA) or the methodologies applied.

So how should you go about ‘reading’ the available rankings?

First of all you should stay critical – do not take rankings at their face value but rather match them against your own personal needs and goals. Always read the survey methodology, i.e. how the data is collected and presented (publications such as The Financial Times, The Economist, Business Week, US News & World Report give extensive details about their methodologies on their websites). You are also advised to look at ranges – collect the publications of a particular ranking over several consecutive years and focus on MBA programmes that show consistency. Also look into the university’s connections to local industries – many business schools have strong ties to important local companies and these ties often translate into employment opportunities for
the graduates of these schools. And remember – look for what is best for you, rather than which business school ranks first.

Return on investment and cost efficiency: Today, the MBA remains the most ‘lucrative’ of degrees. Statistics show that the return on investment is quite rapid for the majority of graduates, with the average return being three to six years – for example, students graduating from Insead's campuses in Fontainebleau and Singapore earned average salaries of $148,490, an increase of 108 percent on their pre-MBA salaries. An MBA degree is undoubtedly a major investment and many students incur debts to pay for their one or two-year education. However, they do get their money’s worth in the long run – not only do they hone their knowledge and qualifications but they also build a network of useful professional relationships. Finally, the ROI coefficient has non-financial benefits that should not be neglected – an MBA degree is bound to increase your professionalism, help you develop your potential, and teach you how to manage your work/life balance.

Author : 

Access MBA
ACCESS MBA Tour holds 55 MBA events annually in over 40 cities worldwide. Access MBA is a project of Advent Group, a Paris-based media agency that coordinates educational and recruiting events throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas

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