Navigating the MBA decision
28 November 2023

Full-time MBA participant Kieran Boland shares his key considerations and tips to make the process of choosing an MBA easier.

So, you’re thinking about an MBA. Where do you start? How do you want to study? What are you hoping to get out of the experience? Deciding to undertake an MBA can be quite a daunting prospect, and that’s not even considering the wide variety of options available to you. If you have a clear idea of how it will aid your career goals, consider the ROI and accept the commitment required, then that is the hardest part. Now comes the (slightly) easier bit, choosing an MBA programme. Here are some considerations that may help you on your journey.

Method and Length of Study

The first thing to consider is if you want to take time out of your career and study full-time or continue to work and complete it part-time. Course lengths and delivery methods will vary, so it is worth considering how you can fit this around your life and the trade-off between the levels of commitment required, the financial cost, and the time it will take to complete your studies. Each has pros and cons, so it is worth considering the impact of your work-life balance and the potential benefits of each. Personally, I always found it helpful to discuss these options with family and friends to help frame your thinking.

Ranking and Reputation

Always an important consideration; achieving an MBA from a highly-ranked business school can open many doors for you. Some great sources for research are the FT, QS and CK. These are great tools to compare schools and the different programmes they offer, bearing in mind full-time, online and executive (part-time) MBA programmes are all ranked differently. It’s also an ideal source for more holistic reputational research by providing various articles, blogs and further reading to glean more information about each programme.

Location

This will have a huge influence on your network and the ease with which you can connect to specific industries. If you have your eye on living and working in a certain part of the world, then undertaking an MBA close to that location or a particular employer/industry could be beneficial. For me personally, Warwick offered the perfect balance between a campus university experience and maintaining strong links to London, giving me broader, more varied networking opportunities.

Curriculum

It is absolutely worth looking more in-depth at the exact curriculum for an MBA. Whilst there will be common themes amongst courses, slight differences or areas of focus will appeal to people looking to switch sectors or specific subjects that align with their career goals. Download brochures and look at how each course is structured and what modules they offer MBA candidates.

Personal Touch

At the end of the day, choosing an MBA is an extremely personal decision. There is no correct or perfect answer that encompasses everyone’s needs. My final recommendation would be to reach out to alumni, current students, and the recruitment teams. You will gain more from a 30-minute chat than you might from a day of research.

Hopefully, this provides a loose framework to help you choose an MBA that suits your own circumstances. I encourage anyone considering WBS to reach out to myself, alumni, and the recruitment team to hear more about the programme and how it can help you achieve your full potential. Use LinkedIn and University websites to connect with people and have those conversations; it could be your first step in a life-changing experience.