What You Should Look for in a Quality MBA Program

Oct 8, 2014
Tags: B-School, Choosing the Right School, MBA, School Selection

Lois Vogle: University of RichmondSubmitted by Lois Clay Vogle, Graduate Studies Program Coordinator, University of Richmond, Robins School of Business

What are graduate students looking for in a quality MBA program? The return on investment is at the top of the list for most students, but that’s not all. It’s not a singular expectation, it’s plural, or at least it should be.

An MBA degree in today’s economic environment should deliver a balanced and rigorous education that develops the student’s ability to think critically about business issues. A great MBA program produces thought leaders and change agents. It produces graduates who lead by example, encourage and motivate colleagues, seamlessly create and develop robust relationships and ask tough questions—the questions that inevitably move businesses forward.

The majority of prospective students I meet with seek to gain new skills or augment current ones. They have a genuine interest in a comprehensive, academic curriculum with exposure to a variety of subjects. They seek options and opportunities for honing specific aptitudes while learning about their professors and fellow students’ proficiencies. Students want professional development opportunities so that learning continues outside the classroom. They want to learn from executives who are effectively implementing key knowledge they obtained in graduate school to achieve professional success.

Graduate students need action plans and goals. They should seek out an environment of passionate learners and teachers. Look for programs that offer exposure to employers and businesses that fit in to their action plan. Develop relationships with professionals who can help cultivate goals and provide mentoring. It is important to discuss the program with current students, professors and staff. At the Richmond MBA, for example, professors and students work together to share ideas and accomplish mutual goals.

In sum, seek a variety of perspectives before making your decision. Navigate through the maze of an unknown path obtaining as much knowledge as you can upfront, then make an informed and judicious decision about the graduate business program that's right for you.