Other Criteria for How To Pick Business Schools
The factors that go into picking business schools should mirror your own individual preferences and personality. Besides rankings, concentrations, costs, and your own background, there are lots of other reasons why you might pick one school over another. We can't decide for you, so we've put together a list of additional variables to consider. There's probably a lot more that you could add to this list, so think of it as food for thought.
Your Lifestyle Preferences
Not everyone likes the same thing (except, perhaps, money). You might prefer the laid back culture and sunshine of Florida whereas someone else might like the hustle and bustle of New York City. The point is that focusing exclusively on the academic merits of MBA programs ignores other important, personal dimensions. Remember, you'll be spending the next 1-2 years in school, or even longer, which isn't an inconsequential amount of time. Some things to consider include: climate, local activities, population, culture, and distance from family and friends.
Access to (Great) Facilities
How to pick business schools can also be a function of the facilities that institutions have to offer. If you want to become a trader, for example, you might want to research whether your target business schools have Bloomberg Terminals and simulated trading floors. The presence (or absence) of these characteristics could prompt you to pick some schools over others. Decide if it matters to you.
Your Preference for School Size
Bigger is better, right? Well, in many cases, yes, because it means access to more resources and faculty. But in other cases, you might prefer a smaller school. One that's intimate, where faculty and students form strong relationships and address each other a first name basis. Again, it comes down to personal choice.
Schools' Placement Record
Business schools are commercially oriented and publish statistics about where students work after graduation. From these employment reports, you'll be able to determine how successful a school is in placing its graduates in the job market. You can also consult business school rankings since compensation is one of the most important criteria in achieving a top rank.
Your Schedule...and Online Programs
Over the past years, there's been an explosion of distance learning programs. The primary advantage of online education is the convenience that it offers: it's now possible to earn an MBA from the comfort of your home. In many cases, you can hold a full-time job and schedule classes around your schedule. But it's not all sunshine and roses. Online programs often carry the stigma of a second-class education, although this is slowly disappearing. They also lack the richness of faculty and peer interactions found in a brick and mortar university. And they require you highly self-motivated. The leader in online education is the University of Phoenix, which offers a popular online MBA program.
Your Wallet....and Application Fees
We weren't sure whether to put this on the list, but figured it wouldn't hurt. As you probably already know, business school applications aren't free. Schools typically charge $200-300 per application. This means that if you're applying to more than a handful of programs, your bank account will receive a kick in the posterior. So, while it's great to have options, you should also consider your costs when thinking about how to pick business schools.