Are you struggling with how to choose a business school? This could be the biggest decision of your life, so it’s important that you’ve done your research and are applying to the schools that are right for you.
When making your decision, there are plenty of things you could consider. Location of the business school, your study programme, and how the school does in rankings. However you go about your decision, you should cover all bases – you might be at this school for more than a year, and it will have an impact on your future business career, too.
To help you make your decision, we’ve put together a guide to how to choose a business school. We cover the top six criteria you should be thinking about, so you end up at the school that’s right for you.
How to Choose a Business School
There will be a lot of factors that go into your decision of which business school you should choose. First of all, you need to consider what programme of study you want to follow – are you focusing on a Bachelors or a Masters, or even an MBA?
However, during your time at business school, you won’t just be focused on your study programme. You’ll also be making use of all the school’s facilities, career guidance, and networking opportunities. This means that your choice of business school will no doubt affect your future career path, and you should be careful to choose a business school that makes sense with regard to your ideal career path.
Before you start your search, ask yourself some questions to gauge where might be a good fit:
- What extracurricular activities am I interested in?
- Do I need particular flexibility with my programme or can I dedicate myself full-time?
- Which subject areas am I most excited about? (e.g. finance, marketing, international business)
- Do I thrive in a large school or would I prefer a smaller, more personalised approach?
After you’ve considered these questions, your real search can begin. We’ve narrowed down factors to six top criteria that you need to consider as you consider your future school. If you’re struggling with how to choose a business school, these points should make your search easier.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a business school is its reputation. Verified student reviews and rankings are a way to gauge the quality of business schools and how previous students feel about their studies.
Student reviews indicate the reputation of a school from a personal perspective. Students can review their programme, the atmosphere of the school, and the quality of professors. These insights can tell you which schools might be the best fit for you, and which ones to stay away from.
While rankings aren’t always accurate – elite business schools like Harvard and Stanford boycotted this year’s Financial Times MBA rankings – they do offer some valuable insights into the school. Rankings might cover how international the faculty and student body is, the average earnings of graduates, and even how they fare on corporate social responsibility.
Programme of Study
Arguably the first thing you should think about is exactly what study programme you’d like to follow. Many business schools have specialisations in subject areas like finance, marketing, or entrepreneurship, and you should choose a business school that aligns with your interests. For example, there are rankings that cover the best business schools for consulting.
You’ll also want to consider the cost of your programme (which may vary depending on the business school you choose) and the length of your programme. Some business schools may also offer better scholarships for your study, so factor this into your decision.
As a business student, you’ll be using all of the facilities available at your school. From the library to computer rooms and even more specialised equipment like coding software, you’ll need to know that your school’s facilities are up to scratch.
Research the schools you’re interested in carefully, scouring both their websites and programme brochures for the facilities that they offer. You should be looking to see if they have facilities that might come in handy for your programme. For example, students interested in finance might opt for a school that has a Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab. This specialist software helps students learn about the stock market in a practical way.
If you’re still considering how to choose a business school, class size might not be something you’ve thought about. However, it can make a big difference to your studies.
Class sizes vary massively across schools and even departments. For example, the MBA programme at INSEAD boasts 500 students, while a similar MBA programme at Vlerick Business School has just 45 students.
Larger class sizes will mean greater access to networking opportunities. There’s a higher likelihood that some of your peers come from the industries that you are targeting. However, you may lose personal support in a large class.
A smaller class gives you a better opportunity to learn each of your cohorts, but you may lose out on the networking opportunities of a larger school. When you’re choosing a business school, make sure to find out the average class size on your programme as it will be an important factor.
When choosing a business school, you may be concerned about the cost of living in a certain country, or you might have a preference for a small-town atmosphere rather than a busy city.
Make sure that you carefully consider your business school’s location as it will become an important factor during, and after, your studies. You might decide to stay in your chosen city or country after graduating, finding a job there. If so, you might want to consider how to apply for work visas in your chosen country.
If you’re going to study business, chances are you’ve thought about your future business studies career. Planning for your career is important, even if you’re just starting a Bachelor’s degree, and it should factor into which school you choose.
Make sure you look at past employment statistics for the schools that you’re interested in, as they will tell an interesting story. Which industries are graduates most likely to be employed in? What is the average salary for graduates from your chosen business school? How long did it take graduates to find a full-time position after graduating?
These statistics will give you some insight into the all-important careers department of the business school. You might not be thinking about it at the beginning of your degree, but as you come to the final year or final few months it will become important. Careers advisors will help you to find internships and assist you with your resume. Choose a school that you know has a good reputation for their careers service, and it will certainly help you with your future career.
Conclusions on how to Choose a Business School
There are so many factors that go into choosing a business school, but if you follow our six criteria, your decision will be easier. Above all else, choose a school that’s right for you and your future business career.
Are you still wondering how to choose a business school? Take a look at EDUopinions’ business school student reviews and ask for free student advice. These will give you an insight into the student experience at some of the best universities and business schools in Europe.