When you decide to do an MBA after engineering or any other degree, you are willing to put in 2 years of your life, a lot of investment and a massive effort to make a mark in your career. If you don’t choose it well, chances are that you would miss the maximum benefits that you could get if you would choose the business school and MBA program well.
Now choosing well doesn’t mean going big. Your friends may have opted for Harvard, Stanford, Wharton or many big B-Schools in the world. That doesn’t mean you should follow their footsteps without considering the factors of selecting an MBA program well.
Why should I do an MBA?
No matter what are your reasons, make sure first of all, you would really want to do MBA from your heart, not to do it out of peer pressure or for compulsion.
Where I want to see myself in my career 5 years from now?
It may be the popular question for an HR interview, but before deciding on the factors, you should ask yourself this question. Most students have very little idea about what they want to do in their career. But it is very significant question as it will align your mind with the burning question of what MBA program will suit you best.
Now, it is difficult to know where you would be 5 years from as the marketing conditions are changing in a rapid rate. You don’t need to be very clear about this. But just make sure that whatever you choose, that is of your likings.
What you need to do here is not to choose a position. Rather you need to choose an activity or series of activities that you would like to do in future. If you would have a knack for Human Resources, you may like to take interviews, do recruitments and interact with clients.
Do your research. Search all options. And carefully dig into your own heart. What you would love to do and what’s available. Then find a sweet spot that will bridge the gap between what you love and what market offers.
Remember that MBA is just a bridge which will help you reach your goal. But if you don’t have a slightest idea about where you are going, then probably your choice of MBA program or business school would be wrong.
Am I looking at it as a means to an end or an investment for growth?
This question would seem not important by looking at it. But if you go deep, you would see that this question will help you get prepared for MBA in a way which is almost ideal.
Now, most students do MBA to get a job or else to get a hike in their career. But MBA is not a means to an end. If you have decided to do MBA just for having a job or to get ahead in your career, maybe you are emphasizing on the surface.
What MBA do, rather, builds your ability to critically analyse any business situation; it hones your mind and thinking ability and problem solving acumen. An MBA is a starting point of lifelong achievements.
Instead of looking at short term gains like salary hike or a well-paid job, look at an MBA as an investment for growth. MBA is a continuum which will set you apart from your counterparts who will work with you in your career. And it will give you the skills you need to be successful in the business world. When you think of an MBA, think long term, think investment.
After answering these questions now let’s critically analyse the factors that you need to consider while going for the right B-School and MBA program.
First thing you need to consider while going for an MBA is your budget. If your budget is in higher end you can consider foreign university or else you can choose a university which suits your needs in your home country.
Budget is very important because it will set your mind on what kind of B-Schools you would look at and consider applying and what kind of tests you would give for your MBA. Make sure you exactly know what would be your budget for doing MBA.
If your parents are investing for your MBA, sit with them and discuss what can be tentative budget so that you choose accordingly. To give you an idea about the fees, let’s look at how much the top most b-school in the world Wharton School charges its students for its MBA program. It is almost US $107,000 for over two years. The top most b-schools in India charges around US $30,000 to $40,000.
Foreign or Home University
Even though budget often decides whether you would go for foreign or home university, but you can still choose the 2nd tier or 3rd tier university in foreign countries. But do your research well before going for any university.
Talk to the professors, the current students and the alumni to find out whether the university or B-School you are choosing is best suited for your needs. Don’t forget to check the faculties and their background to have an idea about the academics in the B-School. It is a major decision of your life; you need to do all the due diligence by yourself.
Area of specialization
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a b-school where your area of specialization is not given enough emphasis. It is always the case that all the B-Schools are excellent at one or two areas of specialization. It is especially significant when you choose one of the new fields of specialization. Because if you would like to take corporate social responsibility, agri-business or strategy as your MBA specialization, then you need to consider which ones are the best for it in India or in foreign countries.
For example, IIM Ahmedabad is best for agri-business specialization in India; for strategy IIM Bangalore is best in India and Harvard Business School is one of the best in foreign countries.
Goal of your career
You don’t need to choose an MBA program that suits your goal. If you are a fresh graduate, you can opt for MBA full time program and can choose a residential program. But for people who have experience and just want to give their career a nudge, they can consider Executive MBA Program which normally is of one year duration. Every applicant has different need and different goal. So according to the goal of your career you should decide upon the B-School and MBA program.
Most students calculate the fees of the MBA program. But what they often miss out is the opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the cost of what you let go in order to choose an MBA program. For example, if you opt for IIM Ahmedabad you let go of the opportunity of Harvard Business School. But base your calculation of opportunity cost on criteria like fees, opportunities, pay-package and area of specialization.
Another most critical factor of choosing an MBA is its payback period. Payback period means simply in how many years you will get your money back. Suppose, if you invest US $100,000 in an MBA and your salary after passing out is US $50,000, then your payback period is US $100,000/$50,000 = 2 years. So, while considering which B-School you should choose, make sure you check the payback period of those business schools.
There are business schools which have longer payback period like Harvard (10.63 yrs.), Wharton (9.09 yrs.), and Stanford (9.67 yrs.). There are also business schools which have shorter payback period like SDA Bocconi (2.25 yrs.), IMD (4.02 yrs.) and Cranfield (2.94 yrs.). You should always go for B-Schools which have the shorter payback period. If you think like an investor while choosing your MBA program and B-School, that would be a prudent decision.
These are the chief factors you need to consider while choosing the right MBA and B-School for you. Do your own research. Find out what rings true to you and after having right information, make a concrete decision. Because once the decision is made you cannot retreat back. Make a decision that you don’t need to regret about in your near future.