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I’m in! Which MBA Program Should I Accept?

Admit.me Expert Staff

If you’re in the position of choosing between multiple MBA programs, you’re probably feeling a mix of relief and anxiety. As you already know, where you get your MBA will influence your success and happiness not only in business school but also your future… so it’s important to make an informed decision.

Too often, MBA applicants weighing multiple acceptances are swayed solely by each schools’ ranking. While the reputation of a program should play into your final decision, it isn’t the most important thing! Remember that your experience in business school will set the tone for the rest of your career. You want this time to feel constructive and positive so you are energized as you shift into your life after b-school. 

Choosing the wrong program for your personality, learning style, and goals will not only make your MBA experience dismal, it may have negative repercussions even after you graduate. 

So… No pressure, right? 😅

Before you feel underqualified to make this life-changing decision, here’s everything you’ll need to consider while deciding between multiple MBA acceptances.

How to Decide Which MBA Program to Accept

When it comes to weighing pros and cons and determining your perfect MBA program, there are four major themes to consider:

  • Education
  • Career Leverage
  • Student Experience
  • Time and Cost

1. Education

The first thing to consider when deciding which program to attend is the education available at each school. Keep in mind that education is more than just the caliber of the professors and material covered; It includes all available opportunities both in the classroom and in extracurriculars.

When weighing each school’s education, here’s what you need to take into account:

→ Curriculum

Even if you find a program perfectly in line with your future goals, the best curriculum is often somewhat flexible. Look for a school that offers interdepartmental studies and electives relevant to your interests. The ability to customize your education will ensure you get the most out of your time in business school.

  • Interdepartmental study opportunities
  • Available electives to tailor your coursework
  • Concentrations in relevant industries or disciplines

→ Teaching Approach

To decide which program is your perfect match, honestly evaluate your learning style. Opt for a school with a teaching approach that is conducive to how you learn, but don’t overlook the importance of variety. Strike the perfect balance to get a well-rounded education.

  • Hand-on experience through external projects
  • Mix of case study, lecture, and field work
  • Applied vs. theoretical orientation

→ Special Programming

A major part of business school is the experience you have outside of the classroom. To steer your career in the right direction, it’s essential you take advantage of internship, study abroad, and extracurricular opportunities. This will be your chance to expand your knowledge and build a network.

  • Internships & work/study programs
  • Entrepreneurship programs and support
  • Global focus and study abroad opportunities
  • Leadership development programming

2. Career Leverage

Here’s the part where we circle back to what we said before about how school ranking shouldn’t be the only factor that determines which program you accept. That being said, it should still play a role in your decision making.

Another reason a school’s ranking isn’t the be-all end-all: There are more key factors that will elevate your career. Here’s what you need to consider:

→ Reputation

Pay attention to reputation (a.k.a school rankings)... But not just because a prestigious university will look flashy on your resume. High ranked schools also offer an excellent education with access to valuable connections and career services.

  • Professors as “thought leaders” in your field
  • Alumni network engagement
  • Strength of the MBA program brand in your target industry

→ The Network

Look for a school with a strong network of alumni that could potentially open doors to your long-term goals. Do some research on where graduates from each program secured jobs and find out which organizations they are a part of.

  • Presence of alumni at target employers
  • Consulting projects with important industry players
  • Visiting professors and engaged outside organizations
  • Accessibility of alumni

→ Placement

No one goes to business school with the hopes that they will be unemployed afterward. Evaluate the job placement stats of each program and do some research on how much the graduates made right after graduation.

  • Number of placements in your industry
  • Starting salaries
  • Job placement statistics

3. Student Experience

While we can guarantee that business school is not all fun and games, you shouldn’t feel miserable throughout the process of getting your MBA. Sure, you will spend a lot of time studying and doing coursework, but you also have the opportunity to connect with other students, explore a new city, and participate in extracurriculars you enjoy. 

There are a few key things that play in to the student experience on a b-school campus:

→ Culture & Values

Before you commit to a program, ask yourself what type of environment you would thrive in. Are there certain activities you want to be a part of? People you want to connect with? Causes you really care about? These questions will help you decide which campus is best for you.

  • Commitment to and engagement with non-profits and social causes
  • Strong sense of community
  • Clubs and activities of interest
  • International mix
  • Gender Mix and support for diversity

→ Location

Not all MBA graduates stay in the same city as their alma mater, but you may benefit from attending a program with opportunities that align with your long-term goals. Being in an area suited to your target industry will ensure you get the experience you need to succeed after graduation, regardless of where you choose to settle long term.

  • Concentration of businesses in your target industry
  • Proximity to potential target employers
  • Urban/rural campus setting

→ Intangibles

Happiness can’t be measured but that doesn’t make it any less important. Be sure to keep your best interests in mind when making your final decision.

  • Are you energized?
  • Will you be successful?
  • Will you fit in?
  • Do you like the people?

4. Time & Cost

We’re not about to pretend that the price tag on your education and the length of your studies shouldn’t play a factor in your decision making. In fact, time and cost have the potential to either break or seal the deal. Before you accept any offers, make sure you are clear on the price tag, financial aid opportunities, and the time each program requires.

Here’s everything you need to consider:

→ Timing

While traditional business school programs are two years, there are many variations available to suit different lifestyles. From part-time to year-round to accelerated programs, it’s important you know all your options before you sign up for a program that doesn’t work with your schedule.

  • Academic year vs. year-round study
  • 2-Year vs. accelerated programs
  • Full-time vs. part-time programs

→ Expenses

Alright, here’s a big one: Cost. Everyone knows that business school is expensive but some more so than others. Look into options for financial aid and be clear on all the expenses upfront. Crunch the numbers to figure out what works best for you.

Tuition & expenses
Available scholarships
Loan programs

Hopefully all that information alleviated some of your anxiety about picking the right program rather than provoking it. Above all, remember that not all MBA candidates are able to pick between multiple acceptances. Every program offers valuable experiences so there is really no wrong answer – you’re in a great position!

MBA School Choice Decision

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