Congratulations! Here you are, determined to pursue a BA or an MBA program as the next step towards your career in Business. And like many other prospective students, you are now faced with the inevitable question:
Seems familiar? While googling “Best Business Schools” may be a good start, finding the right schooling environment for you in a sea of options requires an in-depth research that, without a structured approach, can turn out to be a bit of a headache.
In this complete guide to finding your ideal Business School, we will introduce you to the main criteria that you should consider carefully before deciding on where to study.
Business School Rankings
Checking lists and rankings is the first step that most future students take when deciding on a Business School. Chances are you’ve done so already!
While comparing how institutions score against each other academically is an undeniably important first look at the broad market of Business Schools, the ranking should not be the only criteria to examine, as there is no universally accepted method to do so, making all existing lists at least somewhat subjective.
When comparing, be sure to turn to reliable sources: There are many, amongst them, rankings from AMBA, Bloomberg, The Financial Times or The Economist are often referenced, as they detail their methodology publicly and update their lists yearly.
Navigating through rankings will also introduce you to the many accreditations that Business Schools may have. Accreditation boards objectively evaluate institutions to ensure that their programs meet certain quality standards, in accordance with the latest teaching methods and research.
Although they are not mandatory for Business Schools, and in no way mean that an institution with fewer accreditations cannot be an excellent choice, accreditations from an influential organization are a good indicator of a quality MBA program and a reliable Business School.
Reputation and Peer Opinions
A Business School’s reputation is often just as valuable, if not more, than how well it is ranked from an academic standpoint. It is also much more difficult to pinpoint, as opinions tend to be scattered online and hard to find, as well as often outdated or out of context.
Our EDUopinions platform, which centralizes alumni and student reviews on Universities and Business Schools, is a neutral and transparent tool that you can consult to find out how former and current students feel about all facets of their school: From the quality of the MBA programs to student life, administration, amenities and more.
To get an idea of how companies value a given institution, you can track where recent graduates are interning or working now via LinkedIn. If you are already interested in certain companies or industries, this step is especially recommended, as it will give you a valuable insight on which are the top Business Schools in your preferred sector.
Specializations and flexibility
Naturally, some Business Schools tend to excel more in a particular domain than others. If you are already clear on which specialization you wish to head towards, search for schools that have a respectable reputation and a reliable program in that particular domain.
Some majors such as Marketing, Human Resources, Finance or Operations are commonly offered, but if your career goals lay within the realms of Law, IT, Digital media, Tourism or even Sports management, make sure that your top Business Schools offer that option.
Researching how flexible an institution may be about changing a major in progress, or the possibility to transfer credits to another Business School offering the desired program are also ways to ensure that you won’t find yourself stuck on an undesirable career path in the long run.
Location and Transfer Options
The location of your chosen Business School may seem like an obvious point, but we’ve included it anyway, as it is crucial to really think about what matters to you: Do you value being close to home? Would you prefer to study abroad? Or maybe start off at home and then transfer abroad?
If you wish to experience at least part of your student life abroad, look into Business Schools with campuses in different countries, or make sure that you can transfer credits to other institutions abroad that may interest you later on.
Take into consideration the reputation of your desired destination in terms of its Business Schools, quality of life as a student, and the availability of internships. Not just how sunny it is!
Career Enablement and Mentorship
The best Business Schools are also the ones who can help you kickstart your career after you graduate.
Look into what internship and career opportunities your chosen institutions offer. Most schools count on partner companies to open up internships or entry-level positions to their graduates, so take the time to look into those companies to see if any of them interest you.
Comparing mentorship programs is also a detail you’ll be happy to have cleared up when the time to write your Memoir or Thesis comes around. Don’t hesitate to inquire about the conditions and limitations of their programs, as well as who their mentors are.
Last but not least, make sure your top Business Schools feel right.
Different Business Schools have very different values. During your research, take the time to look at your top picks’ overall image through their website, social media, student reviews, or even by visiting their campus:
- Do their values align with yours?
- Do they seem to provide an environment where you would feel comfortable studying?
- Would you feel proud representing them? Do they inspire you?
If you can answer “Yes” confidently, then you’ve successfully narrowed your choices down to your ideal Business School!