Choose the right MBA course and business school
The masters of business administration (MBA) is becoming an increasingly popular postgraduate course and can give you a real headstart in the global employment market. With over 114 business schools in the UK alone, you may feel bewildered when faced with choosing the right business school and MBA course. Here are some pointers to help you focus your research.
Most business schools will provide statistics on the origin of their current student intake on their websites or in their prospectuses. Look at the international mix of the school. If it's important to you to gain a global perspective and learn from the experiences of people who have worked all over the world, then the more international the mix, the better.
At schools where the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is used, take a look at the average student's score – this will give you an idea of how discerning the school is.
Think about where you'd like to study. Are you keen to spend time in another country to immerse yourself in another language and culture? Or perhaps proximity to friends and family – and the emotional and practical support they can offer – is more important to you. Also consider if you want to continue working part time while studying as this will dictate how far away from your current job you can move.
Mode and length of learning
What style of learning is most appealing to you? There are full-time, part-time, distance and online MBA courses, and some schools now offer a flexible mix of learning styles. Also think about how long you want to study for. Full-time one-year MBA courses are popular in Europe, whereas North American courses are more usually two years.
Look at the destinations of the last graduating class – who recruited them, and how many were working full time shortly after graduating? Research the statistics available – most institutions offer salary details and the job destinations of their graduating classes on their websites. If there's an employer you particularly want to join, it might be worth asking them if they favour particular schools.
It's advisable to make sure the school is accredited by one of three main accrediting bodies that set standards of quality: the Association of MBAs, which is the only professional membership organisation in the UK for MBA students and graduates, and accredits 139 business school in 66 countries, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) which focuses on schools in the US and Canada, and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).
If possible, pay a visit to your school of choice. Speak with current students and lecturers and get a feeling for the place.