Many professionals, at one stage of their life, feel stuck in their current role and industry. They want to move further but are not able to find suitable opportunities. This situation usually happens between the time of 7 to 15 years of experience. At this time, some professionals are on the lookout to advance their careers or start their businesses. One of the options which come to their mind is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
These professionals who consider pursuing an MBA degree can be from any background and field. They may be doctors, engineers, finance professionals, lawyers or even entrepreneurs. So, If you are also one of such persons who is considering pursuing an MBA program then in this article, we’ll discuss briefly the factors which a person should consider while deciding to pursue MBA and from which institute, if at all.
This article will answer questions like:
How to select the right MBA program?
How to find the right MBA program?
Which MBA program is best?
Which university is best to do MBA?
What factors to consider for an MBA?
Should I be doing an MBA or not?
There are mainly two broad categories of MBAs, i.e., full-time MBA and part-time MBA (which is usually referred to as executive MBA). There are different brands under part-time MBA like Executive MBA, Global MBA, International MBA, Online MBA, Global Executive MBA, Exec. MBA in Strategy & management etc. However, more or less, the programs are the same.
A full-time MBA is usually for the candidates who either have recently completed their graduation or who are at a very early stage of their career, i.e., 2-3 years of experience only. If you are a recent graduate, then a full-time MBA is for you. To study a full-time MBA, you need to be present at the campus and attend classes usually on weekdays and in day timing. Thus, you have to sacrifice your day-job and study full-time.
Full-time MBA is usually of lesser duration (say one year) as compared to executive MBA. The annual fee of full-time MBA is higher than the yearly charges of executive MBA. However, the total cost of the program of Executive MBA may be higher (or sometimes lower) than full-time MBA. There are many online MBA options available now, which are usually cheaper than the on-campus MBA. If you are finding an affordable MBA program, try checking on online MOOC websites like coursera.com and edx.com.
An executive MBA is usually of double the duration than full-time MBA. However, this is not always the case. Some universities are offering one year executive MBA as well (although such universities are rare). Most of the executive MBA programs run for around two years (as opposed to 1 to 1.5 months full-time MBA programs).
An executive MBA is usually challenging considering that the candidates at this program are mostly married, having children and handling full-time job or business. So, juggling responsibilities of work and family, they have to accommodate studies as well. Completing an executive MBA program is no fun, you have to do a lot of research work, study significantly, read journals, attend lectures, visit university, appear in exam and complete the capstone project.
It is essential to realize that an MBA is a generic management qualification. It does not teach you any particular technical skill like engineering, science or IT. Therefore, an MBA can be most beneficial if you already possess the technical expertise, and you are proficient enough in that specialized field. MBA would add a significant advantage to your profile, and you’ll be best able to reap the benefits of the program. However, if you are only a management professional (like BBA or bachelors of management, etc.) then, your MBA would be comparatively less beneficial to you. In this case, it would be more advisable to you to do some short courses on the technical side of your interest.
Well, there is no one single best MBA. Rather, there are different factors with different weightage. You need to evaluate these factors and then make a decision. Choosing the right MBA is one of the most important decisions of your life. You need to consider the following factors carefully:
- Cost of the program: MBA programs range from $10,000 to $200,000. These fees fall in a vast range, and you need to make sure that you can meet the costs of the program.
- Duration of the program: The length of MBA programs usually ranges from 1 to 2 years. So, there is a time commitment involved. For this period, you’ll not be able to have any other significant time commitments.
- MBA Objective: Some people enrol in an MBA for better career prospects, while some do to start or enhance their business. So, thoroughly consider your objective for start MBA. Do you want to start your own business or you want to change your industry, or you want to get promoted in your existing company? Choose your right MBA program based on the analysis of your objective and the matching content of the MBA program. Some MBAs focus on entrepreneurship and some on specific industries.
- Classes schedule: What options are available to attend classes, is it day time, evening or weekend?
- Online lectures availability: Is it possible to complete the program and attend lectures online?
- Ranking of the university: University’s ranking is one of the most critical factors which you might consider in choosing the right school. When checking the ranking, ensure that ranking being checked is correct. There are several rankings criteria, and you need to find an accurate and reliable listing.
- Ranking of MBA program: In addition to checking the ranking of the university, you also need to check the ranking of the MBA program. It is possible that the university’s ranking is high, but it’s MBA program’s ranking is low. Similarly, the same university may have multiple MBA programs, so you need to check the ranking of that particular MBA program which you are considering.
- Time and budget commitment: Will you be able to devote time and the budget for the specified duration of the program.
- Program content: There are hundreds of MBA programs out there and all of them are not same. There is a difference in the curriculum. Please spend some time thoroughly going through the subjects and the full content of the program. Make sure that the curriculum is matching with your interests, and this is the kind of knowledge you want to spend your energy and time on.
- Country of stay: Prefer university in the country where you want to stay in future. For example, if you are planning to live in the UK after completing MBA, then prefer a UK university. Similarly, if you want to live in the US after completing MBA, then prefer a US university.
- Title of degree: Better ask for a sample of the certificate which is awarded to successful candidates. See if look, feel and title of the program motivates you. Read out the title carefully and assess its impact on your resume or your sense of achievement. Usually, the titles are ‘MBA’, ‘Master in Business Administration’, ‘Global Master in Business Administration’, ‘Online MBA’, ‘Online Global MBA’, ‘Executive MBA’, ‘Executive Master in Business Administration’. Etc.
- Funding options: Don’t be scared of high university fees and cancel the plan to get an MBA. There are many scholarships and funding options available for MBA programs. Each university lists out the details of funding options on their website.
- Lost salary: If you are committing yourself full time to an MBA program, then, you’ll not be able to do your day job. You will have to put a resign or take unpaid leaves for 1 or 2 years. The loss of income for the study period is an additional cost of your MBA (in addition to fees and other expenses).
- Senior’s Advice: Take advice from someone who has already studied at a business school. This first-hand advice would be significantly helpful for you to choose the right school and the right time to commence MBA journey.
- LinkedIn profile analysis: Check the LinkedIn profiles of the alumni of that business school. Study and analyze their career journey. If you believe that they got significant benefit from their MBA and were able to achieve good positions, then that is a positive motivator for you to consider that MBA program.
- Political factors: Consider the political factors in the country where you are planning to apply for MBA. A politically unstable country or any expected political upturn may create negative impacts on your institute and your MBA.
- Social factors: If you have to travel to another country for an MBA, consider the social behaviour of that country and the linguistic barriers which you may face.
- Commuting: If you are working and have to attend classes as well, make sure that your commute should not be killing. You need to have a manageable lifestyle and ensure to keep your routine comfortable.
- Health issues: If you are going through any particular health-related problems, it is advisable first to take care of these matters. MBA studies are challenging and would require significant energy. You’ll undergo a large amount of stress and pressure while trying to catch up with the requirements of the program.
- Campus Life: When you visited the campus, did you feel that the environment is enriching, bright, social, happy and thrilling? Did you feel like you want to spend time here and quench your thirst of learning management? You may be spending a significant and precious time of your life on the campus, so be sure to have a pleasant one. It is needless to say that you should have wifi access in the campus.