It is a question thousands ask every year: I have more than one business school admit; how do I choose the one best for me? Here are some of the selection criteria our Sherpas have used effectively when they had to choose:
Business School Ranking: Financial Times, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Economic Times and other rankings out there have their own rules, weightages and criteria with which they rank business schools around the world. Go through the rankings from the last few years from these sources to form an opinion of the schools listed in these rankings. Look for the schools which perform consistently in these rankings.
Alumni and Network strength: The biggest advantage of going to a good school is the rich and massive network associated with it. The reputation of a B school, number of years since its inception and the graduating class size are contributing factors to the network you will add to your professional profile when you graduate. It could be a critical factor when you go about searching for a job after school.
Class size: What kind of class would you like to graduate in? Small graduating batches such as in SDA Brocconi and large ones like Wharton both have their advantages. The learning experiences may differ in each; small sized classes have a smaller learning group with more academic receptivity, whereas a larger class gives you higher class diversity in terms of professional disciplines.
Location: Depending on your preferences, make the choice between schools in the city (the likes of Columbia Business School) and the ones well removed from the madding crowd (INSEAD). Education in schools removed from the humdrum of cities typically have a comparatively more peaceful learning ambiance as opposed to city schools which are physically closer to offices and industries.
Scholarships and Financial Aid: For many students, scholarships and financial incentives can be a major factor which tilts the balance in favor of schools which offer these. Go on to the schools’ websites to find out about scholarships offered; business school education isn’t exactly inexpensive and these can make it a lot easier on your wallet.
Deciding on the right school is tougher than it sounds, and if you need to further supplement the process of choosing there are a few other things you can do which will help.
Attend Admit Events:
Meet your potential future classmates at admit events organized in your city. Attending these events will help you assess the crowd you will be in school with (you will spend most of your waking hours with them) and later add to your professional network. Current and past students of the school often volunteer to attend these events; besides the free beer and finger-food, they are there to help you. Add to your own research on the school by talking to them for an insider’s view on things you may want to know, like the recruitment scene, club activities, academics, extra-curricular stuff and so on.
Use the Social Network:
Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and other networking sites to find other people with admits in your preferred schools. Go out and meet your potential classmates, have a drink or two and use the experience to help you decide on joining. Remember, everyone here will be scoping everyone else and you may need to break the ice! Besides organizing meet-ups, look for Facebook groups for your class. Every batch has a few proactive people who create social media and email groups. The discussions and conversations here can also help you assess your options to an extent.
There you go, these are the tips that our Sherpas have for you to help choose the right school. The school you choose will be your step towards a dream career. Do you have any thoughts on how best to choose a school? Leave a comment below and let us know!