You have decided to quit your well-paying job. You have decided to do an MBA. You know this is the path that will take you forward.
You have even spent sleepless nights and all weekends to prepare for your GMAT. And got a score you are happy with.
Is it enough? It is time to address the ‘known unknowns’ that can potentially impact you during the MBA, and long after it.
The weight you assign to each factor might differ from what another person might assign. Some factors will require a tradeoff.
Use this cheat sheet to help decide which B-School will be the best for you:
Factor to Consider: What is the maximum fee waiver I can receive?
A higher GMAT score can be positively correlated to a higher scholarship. Not all Business Schools base their scholarship decision purely on GMAT scores.
Some Business Schools don’t offer scholarship, while others offer generous scholarships owing to corporate tie-ups. 100% scholarship is also possible in certain cases.
If saving on the education cost is your top priority, then it is important to know what % scholarship you want and shortlist only those Business Schools which provide that.
Factor to Consider: Am I looking for a brand name or just an education?
A Business School ranked on Financial Times Top 100 will have generally have more seats and more applicants per seat, and higher competition for limited scholarships.
If you are doing an MBA for the sake of knowledge, then it might be useful to extend your search beyond the well-known schools.
There could be equally good Business Schools outside the Top 100 which might have double or triple accreditation, a smaller cohort size and might offer abundant scholarships.
Factor to Consider: Do I want to stay away from work for 1 year or 2 years?
As a rule of thumb, most Business Schools in UK and Europe offer 1-year MBA programs and most Business Schools in US and Asia offer 2-year MBA programs.
If you are choosing to do a 2-year MBA in a country with a stronger currency than your home currency, the living cost itself might be a huge burden.
Also, it is important to look at the opportunity cost of doing a 2-year MBA. Will you be better off in your career after 5 years having forgone an income for 2 years?
Factor to Consider: Will I get to specialize in my chosen area?
If you had wanted to make a career switch to Finance, Marketing or HR, wouldn’t you want to check if the Business School has such a specialization and a strong faculty to back it up?
MBA specializations in niche areas such as Big Data, Social Entrepreneurship and Real Estate are also available if you are willing to your research.
You won’t become an expert by doing that specialization, but it will allow you to follow your passion and provide a better leverage to secure your dream job in that area.
Factor to Consider: Do I want a local or an international network?
An MBA program, to a large extent, is about whom you study with and meet during business lunches, social gatherings and networking events.
Studying an MBA in your own country has its own advantages, but you could be limited to interactions with people from the same nationality or cultural background.
If you want your network to be multi-cultural and containing a larger spread of countries, it will be wiser to step out of your comfort zone and find a Business School with a diverse cohort.
Last Updated: 27 February 2017