Now that I've been accepted to more than one school how do I pick?

Feb 28, 2012
Tags: B-School, GMAT, MBA, School Selection

Melissa Holland, Director, MBA Programs, College of Business Administration, Georgia Southern University

There are many things to consider when choosing a b-school.  Obvious attributes to consider would be the school’s ranking and quality of faculty.    However, you should also consider some of the more intangible attributes associated with the business school. Sure, the academic part of it is certainly important, but in many ways, the intangibles are just as important and often ignored. 

Fit

Fit might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when deciding which school to choose but, in my opinion, it is the most important. Every program has a distinctive culture or personality.  Some environments are highly competitive while others are highly collaborative.  What sort of culture will bring out the best in YOU?  Who will you be surrounded by (classmates, faculty, alumni)?  “Fit” is a very personal question and the answer will be different for everyone.  One of the major benefits of business school is the network that you will develop.  So the better the fit, the more likely you will be to develop deep bonds that will last a lifetime. 

How do you ascertain whether a school is a good fit for you?  Schedule a classroom visit or spend time with currents students or alumni.  Make an effort to get to know the Student Services staff and other program-related professionals.  After spending some time getting to know a school’s community, you will begin to get a sense of whether or not the fit is right. 

Positioning for the future

The next intangible that you should evaluate when choosing a business school is: “How will this institution impact my ability to get a job in the future?”  Is the institution close to the geographic region that you will target upon graduation?  Do employers from your target industry recruit at the school that you are considering?  What sort of alumni presence does the school have in your target industry?  You should never underestimate the power of alumni networks or of networking, in general.  In many ways, the old adage is very true: “It is not what you know, it is who you know.”  As an MBA graduate, it will be a given that you have a certain set of skills.  However, a strong network can open doors that you may not have been able to access otherwise.

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