The 5 most important questions to ask when choosing an MBA
The MBA remains one of the world’s leading qualifications for return on investment, with a payback period of 2 ½ years according to QS, the leading global career and education network. A Masters in Business Administration prepares you to be a future global business leader and allows you to access a range of high-level career opportunities, reach higher salaries, make a strategic career change and build a global business network.
But with significant investment needed in terms of cost and your time, you want to choose the very best MBA for you and your needs. To make sure the MBA programme will help you to reach your goals, we share the 5 most important questions to ask when choosing an MBA.
The 5 most important questions to ask when choosing an MBA
- Does the programme have an international focus?
An MBA graduate with a global business mindset will see broader opportunities than one without. More than ever, organisations seek experienced future business leaders with a global awareness in order to navigate the constant and rapid waves of innovation and ever-changing customer needs to develop new growth opportunities for their organisations. This global mindset comes from having the opportunity to study different business models and working cultures as well as work as part of culturally diverse teams, therefore increasing your cultural awareness and communication skills. Plus, studying internationally will give you the opportunity to create a global network which you can call upon when seeking international MBA job opportunities or expanding an organisation into new global markets.
Therefore when choosing an MBA, look for programmes that offer you to chance to study your MBA in several countries through exchange programmes, international learning trips to experience management in different context, or even complete internships outside of your home country. Plus, investigate MBA programmes that attract a high diversity of students. This will ensure you will work on projects with globally diverse teams who will bring a range of different mind-sets, knowledge and experience to the table, therefore providing a unique perception to the problem.
- Does the programme feature consulting projects to put your MBA knowledge into practice?
Studying an MBA is one thing, but putting your newly developed MBA knowledge into practice with real-life business projects is vital to develop the capabilities to apply these to the business world. Solving a business problem, turning an idea into a tangible solution, thinking innovatively and working productively in a multi-cultural team are all skills you will need as a future global business leader.
Consider choosing an MBA that features practical consulting projects working with organisations, particularly those that allow you to select projects that complement your MBA career ambitions. Business projects will not only develop your project management, presentation skills and your ability to project yourself professionally to a client, it will also enable you to develop knowledge in your field of interest and build your professional network; a resource you can call upon when looking for MBA career opportunities.
- Does the MBA allow you to specialise your knowledge?
The MBA is by definition, a general management degree, but there has been a proliferation in specialised MBA programmes offered to candidates with a very specific career path in mind.
Regardless of whether you want to specialise your MBA in a particular function or industry or not, it’s important that your chosen MBA programme offers you this choice.
For those candidates who have accrued significant work experience in a particular role or industry and want to develop their knowledge and professional connections for a specific position upon graduation, a specialised MBA is a great way to gain these highly employable skills, coupled with the high-level general management competencies of an MBA.
- Does the school have a strong MBA alumni network, relevant to your field of interest?
For many MBA students and graduates, the most valuable aspect of their MBA for their future career is the strength of the MBA alumni network they join. A strong professional network can help you access lucrative career opportunities, industry and functional expertise, financial investments, as well as access to decision makers and potential customers.
Therefore before even choosing your MBA, it’s important to consider the alumni network of the school you plan to join and whether it will be a valuable resource for your career goals. For example, if you really want to work in Asia, find an MBA programme that has ties with the Asian market. Look at the profiles of MBA graduates from the school to understand which industries they work in and which positions they hold to decide if they’d be important professional contacts to help you reach your own career objectives.
- Is the programme well respected by MBA recruiters?
When weighing up different MBA programmes, it’s important to understand the perception of the programme in the industry itself. Consider the official rankings, but base these on whether the programme is a good fit for you personally. It’s also a good idea to speak to recruiters in companies you’d like to work for in the future. This will give you an idea of whether the MBA programme will give you a real advantage over candidates without this qualification, therefore ensuring the investment of your time and money will be worthwhile.
Plus, look for MBA programmes that have a strong MBA Careers Service to support you to reach your MBA career goals. Whilst no school can guarantee you a job, by giving you access to the right professional industry connections, as well as advice and support for applying to MBA positions, it can stand you in very good stead to achieve the career of your dreams.
Take your career to the next level with the International MBA at EMLYON
EMLYON Business School knows the elements of a Master in Business Administration that are important to your future career. This is why the Business School has crafted a unique MBA programme attracting high-level candidates from all over the world:
- Study at triple-accredited EMLYON Business School, voted #4 MBA in France in the Top 100 MBA programmes worldwide (The Economist – October 2014) and #3 Business School in France (Le Figaro – November 2014)
- Project based learning with a 9 month part-time consultancy Entrepreneurial Leadership Project
- Specialise your MBA by function (Marketing, Finance or Strategy), by industry (Luxury Business or Life Sciences) or by firm type (MNE’s or New Ventures)
- Focus on entrepreneurship: voted 10th MBA in world for entrepreneurship by Financial Times in 2014
- EMLYON FOREVER alumni network of 26,000 alumni from over 107 countries. 31% of MBA graduates accessed their MBA position thanks to the EMLYON Forever alumni network
- Exploration of different business models via Learning Trips
- The opportunity to study abroad with an EMLYON partner institution
- Small cohort size, large cohort diversity
- Expert MBA Career Services to support you to achieve your MBA career goals