You have prepared for GMAT, have got your score, and now, the next natural step for you is to shortlist universities. This can be a very tedious and confusing process and added to it, a lot would be at stake since it is going to be a very important decision that can make or mar your post MBA career. Very often, success, during and after an MBA, depends largely on the B-school you choose to attend.
These are some of the things that you need to keep in mind before taking a call on which universities to apply for:
Reputation of the B school in the country where it is located
This is not to be confused with “Rankings”. For instance, if you have decided to study in Europe, then it makes sense to go to the best B school in a particular country. Amsterdam Business School might not feature in any “Ranking”, but the fact that it is one of the best B schools in the Netherlands will ensure that you have good job prospects after the MBA.
Placements of international students
This is different from the placement data that you will find on the university website. The placement data displayed in a university website does not differentiate between the domestic students and the international students. But, if you are going to a B school abroad, then the statistics of the placements of international students is what you should be looking for. For instance, in European B schools, more often than not, companies prefer to hire EU students over students of other nationalities – especially in these days of European economic turmoil. The best way to start finding information about placements of international students of a B school is by contacting current and past students of that B-school.
A good location comes with its own set of advantages, especially in connecting with a prospective employer. If the School is located in a Business Hub then your chances of being placed are very high irrespective of the school’s ranking. On the other hand, a Good School which is not strategically located in a Vibrant Business area cannot positively increase your chances of getting placed.
Every B-school will have carved out a niche for itself that it religiously focuses on to sustain the reputation in that area. So you need to identify which Program or Stream you plan to pursue in and accordingly pick the best of the schools in the chosen stream, For e.g: Thunderbird Management school ( TMS )enjoys a strong popularity in International Business TMS is rated as one of the best in IB. So if you are Planning a career in IB then TMS should be the obvious choice, irrespective of TMS’ overall ranking based on all of its Streams. Similarly, Babson is popular for Entrepreneurship; NYU Stern is famous for Finance and so on. Hence the school right for you depends on which stream you want to study in it.
Know your own potential
This is probably the most difficult step. You will have to assess yourself honestly. There is no point in going to the best B school in the world, and finding yourself in the bottom 10% of the class. It is better to be in the top 10% of the class of a “good” B school than being in the bottom 10% of the class of a “great” B-school.
Any School that you wish to be a part of must enjoy a strong Alumni Network. Strong Alumni Network will always help you in the future, not only in getting Jobs but also in establishing you with strong contacts who might turn into your Potential Partners / Investors in the future.
Money will be one of the crucial factors in Short listing the School you want to apply for. You need to have a fair estimate of how much you will have to spend and therefore locate the sources from where you will have to collect the necessary funds. Even though there are schools in the USA who act as Co-Signer for Loans, still not all of them will provide you with this facility. There is no point in having an Offer and not being able to accept the offer due to lack of funds. So think about the financial aspect before applying.
I will place this at the end of the list of criteria for shortlisting B-Schools. Since different ranking systems use different methods to determine the rank of schools, so you shouldn’t select schools solely based on rankings. However, Rankings can help you in identifying different schools that are in the limelight.
Hope the above information will help you in Selecting the Schools, Good Luck!