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Choosing the Right MBA - Post MBA Goals/ Faculty / Networking

Your reasons for pursuing an MBA may differ – a change of professional venue, gaining an advantage in a rather tough market, a bigger salary or a better job placement. Yet, before you get down to filling out those applications, there is one important question that you should ask yourself. What qualifications do you want to acquire? Making a realistic and a clear-sighted assessment of the professional skills that you want to develop or improve will help you gain a clearer vision of your future career track.

The majority of MBA candidates have 5 to 10 years of professional experience on their CV and career plans do come foremost when they get down to choosing a business school. Some, for example, are happy with their job but still want to add value to their services by moving up the career chain and a part-time MBA often proves to be the best route for them. Others have already reached a managerial level and are good at what they do, yet the fact that they can juggle tasks blindfolded has turned into a demotivating factor. They have lost interest in their job and they see a change of career functions as a way out of the impasse. For them, a local full time MBA with their company endorsement may be the best option. Finally, there are those that fall into the ‘total makeover’ category. They aspire to a clean start, a new professional venue, a complete change of company or sector. They want to move out and move on with their career and the best choice for them could be a well-known full time MBA programme with an active network of alumni in an international environment.

Faculty matters

Once you’ve decided on an MBA programme you should look into the background of its faculty. Good-quality education depends primarily on the calibre of the university’s faculty members. Most top business schools boast a ‘team’ of world-renowned professors with diverse interests and expertise. Their faculty is very much a part of the real-life business world and will bring a range of  important and useful topics to the classroom – from accounting to strategic management. The easiest way  find out if a school’s faculty meets your expectations is by visiting its websites – all universities have detailed profiles of their permanent or visiting staff. Full-time programmes might have faculty members well known for their research in a particular area of expertise, while part-time programmes might have visiting professors who are pro-active business leaders in a particular sector.

Furthermore, schools create their own structures that combine management theory and business practice. The Manchester Business School, for example, has developed the Manchester Method, a learning structure that produces positive results and has pushed MBS up in the rankings.

Networking and alumni

A good business school should provide you with access to a network of MBA students, alumni, faculty, and business and community leaders, which can be very useful when beginning a job search, developing a career path, building business relationships in your current career or pursuing expertise outside your current field. Quality business universities pride themselves on their high graduate placement rates. A careful study of career placement activity is therefore essential, especially where some business schools have higher success rates at placing their graduates in certain regions or companies than others. A candidate who wants to work in Europe post-MBA, for example, might think twice before applying to a school in the USA. It may also be a good idea to check out what career assistance the university offers – if it focuses on honing your management skills; if it introduces you to recruiters for big companies or provides you with detailed information about salary expectations in certain sectors.

Talking to alumni is always helpful. An international alumni network is critical if you are a global mover and shaker, but a nationally-based network could be just as critical to someone who is forging a career in a defined market. By talking with graduates before you apply, you are in a better position to know which type of network will suit you. You can also judge the quality of a business school by the profile of its graduates – their career tracks and their professional growth. Be ‘on the alert’ if you are not satisfied with the university’s alumni profile (also available on the school’s website).

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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