Tired of shifting through prospectuses and brochures, highlighting the amazing aspects of their international business school?
Many countries and schools around the world offer MBA and Master's programmes and, at a certain point, all of them seem equally pleasing and attractive. The selection requires a significant amount of research, soul searching, and time.
There may be a long list of things to consider, but here are a few tips on how to begin your research.
First and foremost, you must clarify your career aspirations as, at the end of the day, it is mostly about what you want to be. Hence, when you are choosing an MBA or Master's programme, you should ensure that it meets your vision for the future.
That means the international business school you choose must offer a programme in the field you would like to dive into for your career. Perhaps you want to choose a b-school that may give you the opportunity to work in a particular country after your studies, for employers who regularly recruit from this school, in an industry in which the programme has a special focus, etc.
Potential for admission
Some programmes are more competitive than others. There are top b-schools which admit just a tiny 10% of all applicants. Even if you have the drive and ambition to apply to such a school, begin by making sure you meet the basic admission requirements.
Then look at the class profile – average test scores, educational and professional background, diversity, etc. Double-check the school’s website and brochure for statements of what they value in applicants. They do always say, but you have to read carefully and sometimes also read between the lines.
Remember that the admissions office of any international business school will also require that you demonstrate your fit to the selected school and programme in your application package. You have to present your arguments in a statement of purpose and/or essays defining your motivation for seeking admission into the required programme. Details are required also in the letters of reference and your professional resume/CV. Hence, it is best for you to assess your educational background, the skills and experience you possess, and whether you have realistic chances for admission to the particular programme.
Choose programmes that work well with your strengths and where you want to be in the future.
See also How to Select the Best Business Schools!
Rankings and reputation
Of course, we all want to go to the best international business school. Hence, reputation matters in deciding where we want to go and for which programme. Make sure the programme is accredited.
Then check its reputation in the region and in the industry where you plan to start working. This will take some out-of-the-box approaches and research, but it is very important. There are also many popular media rankings, such as those published by the Financial Times, Forbes, The Economist, US News & World Report, which are widely used by prospective students in order to assess the potential of their international business school. Wondering why everyone wants to go to Harvard? It’s been ranked at the top from time immemorial!
Learn Which Business School Rankings to Check Out and when.
Language and culture
No matter how amazing it sounds and no matter how illustrious the international business school, the point remains that if they do not offer your course, in a language you are fluent in, you cannot go there.
Hence, language may be one of the most vital aspects to consider when choosing your international business school. While most international business schools offer instruction in English, you may also want to consider the local language in your host country of study as an important criterion for choosing an appropriate business school. For example, some people may not be comfortable in an environment where a foreign language is spoken outside the classroom. Hence, for example, people who do not speak French may not wish to go to a business school in a French-speaking country or region, and the same applies to other languages.
Culture matters as well when choosing your international business school. If you want to experience a different exotic culture, you may opt for a university in a country, region or even continent different from your own. However, if you want to stay close to your own culture, you may opt for a more culturally similar location.
Money is often one of the biggest dilemmas of student life. When choosing an international business school, you must check your budget and ensure that you are able to cover all tuition fees, accommodation expenses, recreational expenses, travel expenses, and any other expenses that you may incur. You will want to consider factors such as the exchange rate and predicted fluctuations, and the period in which you are required to pay your deposits and expenses.
It is a good idea to remain close to budget and not overdo it. It is time to focus on your studies and you do not need more on your plate when you have to worry about paying tuition fees in the middle of semester. Check for scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid beforehand if appropriate.
Plenty of business schools offer help to their students and it is better to be prepared!
Check out How to Finance an MBA and Master's and The Best Way to Finance MBA Studies
The delivery format of the programme of your choice is also of immense importance. International business schools may offer one-year or two-year full-time Master’s and MBA degree programmes. There are programmes delivered in part-time, evening, modular and distance/online formats which allow more flexibility and make it possible to combine studying with a job or other responsibilities.
Choose an international business school offering a programme format which not only suits you, but which makes it possible for you to make the most of your studies.
That may not seem like an exhaustive list of things to consider when choosing an international business school for your Master’s or MBA degree studies. But this is a good start for making your own specific list of school selection criteria.
Check out Which Are the Best MBA Rankings?
It is really rather simple. Prioritise, organise, and choose! Happy studies!