Selecting your MBA programme and school of choice can be difficult. Full-time MBA participant Michael Lee, shares his top tips on the main factors to consider during this process.
Pursuing an MBA is a big commitment and it requires comprehensive research and diligent consideration. Choosing the right programme will ensure that you get the most out of your experience. As a Full-time MBA candidate, I would like to share my thought process for when I was deciding to pursue an MBA at Warwick Business School (WBS). I have listed the considerations in order of importance to me.
Why an MBA?
A typical interview question, but also a very powerful one to make you take a moment to step back and think. Why you would like an MBA; and more importantly how does an MBA get you where you want to be? All of us have different reasons for an MBA, for instance: relocate to another country, transition to another industry or advance in our field. The list is not exhaustive, but if you are in one of those three categories, an MBA can certainly help to achieve those goals and aspirations. For myself, although I am specialised in what I do; I have the ambition and want to be involved in the bigger picture, from operations to commercial decisions and corporate strategies. The world is moving at an unprecedented pace and obtaining an MBA is the best way to expand my knowledge, skills as well as connections during these turbulent times.
There are different types of MBA programmes to choose from, for example, full-time, executive and distance learning. They are designed for different people at various stages of life; selecting the format that best suits your circumstances will allow you to be more engaged with the course and get the most out of the programme. I have decided to pursue the full-time programme primarily because I would like to switch job function upon completing my MBA; I also enjoy being able to focus 100% during the course. The full-time 12 months programme allows me to take a temporary career break to prepare for the longer journey ahead.
Career services and alumni network
An MBA specialised career service is an important aspect of the programme. They can help you to open doors, introduce you to various sectors and vastly expand your professional network. In addition, a key element of an MBA programme is the alumni network. These are the people who have walked the path before you, and they can share enormous insights in their professional field, both nationally and internationally.
Another significant consideration of an MBA is your cohort, as you will learn a lot from your fellow participants. From lecture discussions to assignments and project collaborations. Hence when choosing your MBA programme, consider the diversity of the cohort. Having a more diverse cohort can enhance your global outlook and international vision; as well as support you in becoming more culturally aware in our ever-changing society. This year, our cohort consists of people from 38 countries and more than 14 different job sectors. From our engaging lecture discussions to purposing intriguing ideas through each other’s local knowledge’ this has truly demonstrated WBS has provided a diverse platform for us to thrive. In the two months since we started our course, more than one hundred of us have joined together to share two cultural festivals’ celebrations, which were organised by our fellow cohort!
A highly ranked school attracts driven, high calibre individuals, as well as potential employers’ interest. So, selecting a top-ranking school is a key deciding factor for some of us. Different elements in the ranking tables are important to each individual. So, when you are deciding on an MBA programme, pick out the most critical element for yourself. Since I am returning to the UK after working abroad for over 10 years, international mobility was one of the most important factor for me.
Course structure and specialism
Each MBA programme has its unique programme structure and specialism. You should choose a programme that aligns with your future aspirations and jobs’ requirements.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: an MBA is costly. Not only in the monetary term but also your time and effort, as well as opportunity cost. However, an MBA is not only a qualification, it is an experience. The return on investment on professional growth and more importantly personal growth cannot simply be measured by cost. Find the right programme for yourself and you can reap the rewards for years to come!
In summary, pursuing an MBA requires significant commitment, sometimes leaving your job and jumping into the unknown. But remember you are not doing this alone. You will meet people from your first day and everyone is pushing and helping each other to do their best. Having an MBA is not only about getting another qualification, but it will also provide you with a different perspective on your approach to your career and life in general. Good luck!
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