In today’s rapidly evolving business world, advanced graduate education such as a MBA Degree is a must, to climb up the success leader. Level up and elevate your career with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration! But there are just so much choices to pick from when it comes to choosing the right MBA, so don’t make the same mistakes.
So how do you go about choosing the RIGHT MBA program?
Fret not, let us provide you with a tried and tested approach towards selecting the RIGHT MBA Program – that meets your needs and expectations.
Here is a useful MBA checklist and step-by-step guide that we at Aventis, an established Business School have created for you, which will help you understand the different aspects of choosing the perfect program for your needs.
Step 1: Defining Your Goals Early
You need to define your goals clearly. You should be able to answer questions such as:
- What is your background?
- How many years of professional experience do you have?
- How much money would you be able to spend (in order to decide if you would be applying for financial aid, which many universities offer)?
- How much time would you be able to spare?
Step 2: Determine What Type of MBA Program You Want?
Choosing the right MBA is a hard task. A lot of you are perhaps already working full-time, or have your own company and/or a family. Balancing everything can be difficult and universities understand that. That is why they have designed various programs to fit various needs. Let’s take a look at what options there are:
- Full-time MBA – This is what most applicants imagine: a full-time course load. In this program, you are a regular student, attending classes every working day. The length of the course is usually between 1 and 2 years, and it’s for people who have over 3 years of professional experience.
- Part-time MBA – The duration may be longer – anywhere from 1 to 3 years. However, certain universities such as the University of Roehampton, London offer a 10-month MBA program as well, which are well-suited to busy executives and professionals. Weekend classes allow students to keep their full-time jobs, which is ideal for those with hectic schedules.
- Online MBA – This course is also suitable for people with no professional experience, and gives you the opportunity to receive an MBA degree from a top university, without having to be physically present there. The courses usually last for 2 years, and the schedule is personalized based on your needs.
- Executive MBA (EMBA) – Executive MBA is typically targets senior executives, professionals and business leaders with over 8 to 10 years of working experience. Such candidates are ideally at middle or senior management level. Structured over weekend blocks, an Executive MBA typically takes 12 to 18 months to complete. Some of the most established MBAs for executives includes the NUS-UCLA Executive MBA and the California State University MBA in Singapore. These courses take place on weekends, so that professionals from across the region can attend them in Singapore.
- Early Career MBA – A perfect program for recent college graduates. It usually lasts for 2 years (sometimes more) and includes a full-time course load.
- Global MBA – This program also includes a full-time course load but it’s designed for people who are young executives and new managers, and usually lasts between 1 and 2 years.
Step 3: Conduct Your Research and Check with Your Network of Friends
- Do an internet scan of the available programs within your region.
- Look at the University’s ranking and reputation, which come into play.
- Look deeper at the entire MBA experience as a whole and ask probing questions such as – will this MBA equip you with the right skills and network?
- What are the resources available to support my studies?
- Is the partnership institution in Singapore reliable and trustworthy?
- As much as possible, try to get to know the programs inside out by speaking with alumni, faculty and current students.
- Attend a free trial class or sit in if available.
Once you know these answers, you can simply make a list of the universities that meet your preferences, evaluate each one based on your criteria, and shortlist the right schools.
Step 4: What are the Types of Accreditations?
After you have decided which MBA program is the right fit for your profile, you can start your research. That means that you will find many universities, but not all of them will be legitimate. It’s crucial that you pay attention to their accreditation. So what types of MBA accreditations are there?
- AMBA (The Association of MBAs) – Universities with such accreditations are global leaders in the field of MBA, and they are mostly located in the USA and Europe.
- AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) – The aim of this accreditation is to prove that the universities are providing a high-quality business education.
- EQUIS (The European Quality Improvement System) – This is an international education accreditation system. It focuses on the quality of the business school, as well as the level of internationalization.
- DETC (The Distance Education and Training Council) – It accredits online institutions.
- Others – If a university claims to have an accreditation other than the main ones listed above, you should always check if that claim is legitimate. There are many regional or national ones, but it’s always good to double-check.
Step 5: What about Rankings Since they fluctuate Annually?
The fundamental question here is how do you measure the quality of a business school? Is it solely based on rankings which fluctuate regularly? There is no quick answer to this but the quality of the business school isn’t necessarily in the number of prizes your faculty has won or how well ranked the University is, since there are numerous rankings across the world, such as those reflected in the US News and World Report, Financial Times, and the Times Higher Education Guide, where the ranking criteria are vastly different.
Some rankings focus heavily on research which is not what most MBA students are looking for. Thus, the key focus should be on the students – look at the student network, the assessment modes, the credentials and the background of the students. It’s in the student network that you will find the metrics that matter for assessing any business school inputs and outputs.
Step 6: Do I Need a GMAT Score? What is GMAT score?
It’s important to know your abilities. To enroll in an MBA program, there is a list of criteria you need to fulfill. GMAT is a common criteria for candidates with less than 3 years working experience. GMAT is a comprehensive exam with scores ranging from 200 to 800 points. You are probably thinking that in order to get into a top-rated program, you would need a stellar score of 720, and why not even more? Think again!
Let us show you what we mean. We have assembled a list of the average GMAT scores for 2017 for some of the top universities in the world:
|Business School / MBA Program||Country||Average GMAT Score|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||USA||737|
|University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business||USA||730|
|Harvard Business School||USA||730|
|Yale School of Management||USA||730|
|California State University||USA||705|
|Georgetown University – McDonough School of Business||USA||690|
|Cambridge Judge Business School||UK||686|
|IE Business School||Spain||670|
|Imperial College Business School||UK||654|
|Manchester Business School||UK||625|
|Warwick Business School||UK||600|
However, for candidates with more than 5 years working experience, they might be able to request for a waiver of GMAT Score since their extensive working experience will allow them to seek a waiver of GMAT Score. As you can see, a high score would never hurt, but it’s also not obligatory in order to enter one of the top programs.
Step 7: Word of Mouth and Return on Investment?
Prospective MBA students would tend to rely heavily on word of mouth, through the school’s promotional materials, or published articles. Let’s face it. Return of Investment is one of the key indicators when selecting an MBA, how much do you want to invest and is it worth the investment? Some of you may wonder if it pays off. According to research – yes, it does.
Researchers analyzed comprehensive data from top-ranking universities and their alumni. What they discovered was that those people who obtained a part-time MBA degree had a salary increase of 41%. And the figures kept on rising as the years went by. All in all, the numbers look pretty good!
So which universities register the highest post-MBA salaries? Let’s take a look:
|Business School / MBA Program||Post-MBA Salary
|Salary Increase compared to pre-MBA (%)|
|Stanford Graduate School of Business||195,322||93|
|Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad||181,863||105|
|University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business||181,634||92|
|Harvard Business School||178,113||97|
|Columbia Business School||172,624||103|
Source: The Financial Times
Step 8: Making the Right Choice
Put all these pieces together, and the MBA that emerges on top should be your preferred choice of MBA. Don’t leave your MBA selection to trial and error, rather let our team of experienced and professional consultants help you. Discover an MBA program that’s right for you today!