Over 100 people participated in this most
recent poll. Here are the results and our analysis.
factor is most important in your business school selection
Views on Business School Selection
believe that too many applicants rush through the b-school
selection stage and jump right into the application
process. This is roughly the equivalent of building
a home without first drawing up an adequate blueprint.
To most applicants, a business school education will
represent the most significant personal investment they
will make in their lives. This should not be made lightly
and should encompass more consideration than simply
clients, and MBA applicants in general, are a rather
heterogeneous group, it is quite dangerous to establish
one set of criteria for everyone to use. Certain circumstances
such as finances and families often play a role in the
business school selection process. An applicant may
have family in a particular city or his or her spouse
may need to work in a particular city for instance.
As a result,
we look at many different criteria and consider our
clients' backgrounds and needs when helping them select
the appropriate business schools to which to apply.
The poll voters
have spoken and career opportunities are clearly the
most important criterion for selecting a business school.
This is what we expected and, because the MBA is a professional
degree, it also makes a lot of sense.
We have found,
though, that many applicants confuse career opportunities
with reputation/prestige. While most of the top schools
are solid in many different fields such as marketing,
finance, and general management, this is not always
the reputation or prestige of a program is very subjective
and can be extremely hard to measure. As a general rule,
BusinessWeek is much more widely recognized by
recruiters than U.S. News and World Report. Nonetheless,
there are many issues surrounding the business school
rankings and the only thing about the rankings that
appears certain is that they will always be controversial.
of all kinds of educational programs has become one
of the most popular of American indoor sports, and this
is especially so for M.B.A. programs." -- Graduate Management
Admission Council (GMAC)
view location primarily as being related to climate
or proximity to family and friends. You should also
keep in mind that business schools are most likely to
attract local recruiters. This holds true of all schools
regardless of their prestige which, by the way, is usually
weaker the more geographically removed you are from
the school. While European firms will travel to Harvard
and East Coast firms will recruit at Stanford, your
best chance of finding a job in a particular
region is to attend a school located in that region.
The major exception
to this rule of thumb is when no suitable schools are
located in that particular region. You should also keep
in mind that an MBA from a prestigious program will
give you a huge advantage in a job search in virtually
any market in the world.
tell our clients not to worry too much about the cost
of attending business school. There is a lot of financial
aid available and, at least as far as the top schools
are concerned, it is very unlikely you will not be able
to afford to repay your loans upon graduation.
"I just wanted
to let you know that I went against the grain and picked
'cost' in your poll. I view the MBA as a financial decision
and I believe that I will be able to pursue my career
goals successfully from just about any good business
school." -- VJ, USA
We feel that teaching style
is too often overlooked as a criterion for business
school selection. Most applicants will respond better
to different styles of teaching and the MBA is not going
to produce a maximum value for you if you are frustrated
by the teaching style of the program you attend. You
should be aware that there are schools across the spectrum
that utilize differing proportions of the lecture, case,
and experiential teaching styles.
of the Program
One of the
biggest benefits of a business school education is the
networking opportunities which it presents. As a result,
the size of the MBA program will make a large difference
on such things as your network and ... your future career
opportunities. For this reason, when our clients receive
multiple offers and call us for advice on which one
they should accept, we frequently look at the size of
the student body and use that as an important factor
in our consultations.
our poll periodically and we will continue to archive
the results of the previous polls so you can see how
other business school applicants voted on those topics
Do you have
an idea for a poll topic or any comments on our analysis?
Please email us at
with your thoughts.