Setting yourself up for career success isn’t typically a process that happens overnight. Instead, it takes a lot of planning. It could take earning a degree or diploma, and then years of work getting the hands-on experience you need to move into that dream job. As the saying goes – it’s a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line – and you have to be prepared for the long game. Part of setting yourself up for career success may involve obtaining an MBA.
Getting your MBA helps to make your resume stand out from others. It shows employers that you’re serious about your future, and it typically means you can command a higher salary straight out of the gate. It really is that first essential stepping stone that can lead to a very successful and rewarding career.
But before you get too ahead of yourself, it’s important you choose your MBA program wisely. Contrary to what you may think, not all programs and schools are equal. Here are the essential factors to consider before you go ahead and choose an MBA program.
Look into the Reputation of the School
In order to narrow down your options of potential MBA programs, experts recommend you take a look at the reputation of the individual schools. No, not every school holds the same impressive and shining reputation. Some are going to be seen more favorably by potential employees which, again, can help give you an advantage over other applicants when looking for a job.
The best way to look into a school’s reputation is to do some online research, as there are plenty of ranking surveys that are done on a yearly basis. Not only do students pay attention to these surveys, but employers do too. Look for schools that consistently do well in these rankings.
Some of these surveys also break it down into smaller details, highlighting what the program’s strengths and weaknesses are. This can shed more light onto your decision.
What About the Connections the Program Can Offer?
Connections aren’t something you may initially consider, but again, these can really help to improve your odds of finding your dream job out of school. Some schools excel in offering top of the line connections in the industry thanks to the students enrolled in the program, the faculty, and the associations the school is part of. It’s actually a form of networking. Just because you’re a student, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be out there networking as often as possible. This site examines just how important connections are when choosing your MBA program, as well as many other factors.
Look at the Quality of the Actual MBA Program
Now, it’s time to compare the quality of the actual MBA program. Each school will offer its own unique factors and benefits, so it’s important to be aware of these so that you can pick the one best suited to you and your career aspirations.
Specifically, it’s wise to look into the faculty that will be teaching and leading the MBA program. Ideally, they should reflect real-world business, which means they understand today’s trends, challenges, technologies, practices, and they need to understand client relationships.
It should also be noted that if you plan on attending an online MBA program, you want to ensure that you’re getting the same faculty and quality as the in-person program would offer. You shouldn’t be expected to make sacrifices to the quality of your experience simply because you are in an online program.
How Long Will the Program Take?
Here’s another question worth asking that will help you to figure out your future path. How long will the MBA program take, and is there any sort of accelerated option? Obviously, the faster you can get through the program, the faster you will be able to land a job and then start making money.
Consider the Cost of the MBA Program
While it would be great if big decisions in your life weren’t affected by money, the reality is that many people are living on tight budgets and need to be mindful of what they spend. Be sure to look into the cost of the MBA program before making any kind of decision.
If you are trying to save money, a good option could be an online MBA. As long as the program is fully online, you won’t have to worry about commuting to and from campus. Typically, the tuition fees are lower, all reading material is in digital format, and you may even be able to work a part-time or even full-time job while still fitting in your online studies.
Does the Industry Dictate the Need for an MBA?
This one doesn’t relate so much to the school and the program as it does to the career and the industry as a whole. Take a look at the trends happening right now, where career growth and decline is, and ask yourself if an MBA will make a difference. Will it help you to be more successful and reach your goals? In the majority of cases, obtaining your MBA will only end up helping you, but it’s still wise to look at the current trends and make sure you’re making a wise decision.
Ask Yourself If You’re Ready for the Challenge
The final thing to ask yourself is whether or not you’re ready for the challenge. An MBA program is very different to an undergraduate course. There is a lot more pressure, stress, and work. That doesn’t mean you can’t tackle it and you won’t be successful; it’s just important to be honest with yourself about the expectations before the program begins. Understand that this will be a big commitment, and remind yourself why it is you’re doing it.
By using this guide, you’ll be able to narrow down the list of potential MBA programs and select the one that best suits your needs, expectations, and sets you up for future success in your chosen field.