Reputation, cohort, money: Key factors to consider when selecting an MBA
26 July 2021
There is lots to consider when selecting the right school for your MBA, for some top tips and advice on key factors to consider read Distance Learning MBA (Warwick) participant Ongeziwe Lupuwana's blog.
What to consider when choosing your MBA
I remember asking myself this question after having decided that I wanted to pursue my MBA. Like any investment that requires a significant amount of resources, you need to do a bit of due diligence and personalise the choice as far as possible as cases are unique for many students. Here are a few of the considerations I made when selecting an MBA programme.
The starting point for me was looking at programme length and format. On the back of a global pandemic and looking forward to my future prospects within my current employer, I was looking for a part-time programme that I could complete over 24 months. I was also looking to grow my international mobility within my current employer and so I sought out distance learning programme formats for flexibility on location.
The reputation of the schools infers the quality of the programme. So, I did a comparative analysis across various rankings and looked at performance over time. Once I had narrowed it down to two to three programmes, I reached out to recruitment officers, alumni and current students to gain better insight.
I then moved onto what might be one of the critical factors to consider, the cost of the MBA and how to finance it. Although figuring out how to fund an MBA may take some time, I advise prospective students to not leave this too late as scholarships are limited and the early bird catches the worm. There are also multiple financing institutions specialising in MBA studies, and you can also reach out to the respective business schools' admissions team to help navigate your options.
The next step was the admissions process; these vary across schools and programmes. The process gives you a sense of expectation and requirements for the programme. Highly selective programmes with low acceptance rates do so to ensure a high quality cohort, as much of the learning happens at a peer level. Admissions can be a very time-consuming part of the process but is a good "pre-season" for the MBA.
Faculty and curriculum
It is also essential to investigate the curriculum of the programme and the teaching staff. At WBS, being taught by some of the world's leading minds in different modules has been eye-opening.The core curriculum across the schools appear quite similar but it is still worth exploring, as it helps to see what the programme values as a business necessity in our dynamic and ever-changing environment. The electives allow you to explore your own interests and tailor your program into an area or specialisation where you would like to develop more profound knowledge.
The cohort's diversity is an area I investigated as I sought to get a wide variety of thoughts. Having a career in FMCG across multiple countries, I have a high curiosity about cultures, people, and how businesses operate in different parts of the world. Therefore, the opportunity to learn and network within a diverse cohort was high on my consideration list.
The list of considerations of what to look for in an MBA varies from person to person. I have highlighted a few of the criteria I believe were essential to me and my situation; the weighting you place on different factors will be unique to you. However, I will advise you to give yourself plenty of time to do as much research as possible as the investment into an MBA is considerable.
I ultimately chose the Warwick Distance Learning MBA because it scored highly on my top six criteria vs the competitors. Distance learning allows me to remain mobile in my career, and considering the pandemic, they already had a well oiled online format as face to face opportunities will be limited. In addition, the support I received from the recruitment team through to the DLMBA programme team has been exceptional. I am seven months into my Warwick DLMBA, and it's one of the best choices I have made personally and professionally.
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