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Choosing the Best MBA Program For You

During these tough economic times, you need all the help you can get to make your resume outshine that of your competition. One sure way to boost your status would be to earn an MBA. Going back to school after you’ve been in the workplace could be a bit daunting, but the result could make a big difference in your career opportunities and potential for success.

There are several major issues you need to consider:

Location – As you evaluate MBA programs, one of the first things you will need to consider is the possibility of relocation. This decision will be easier to make if you are unmarried and or have few obligations connected to your local community. You will need to weigh the costs and benefits and, if you feel it is best to relocate, determine whether it should be a temporary, or possibly a permanent change.

Time Commitment – Because most MBA programs require work experience, candidates who are currently working may find it very difficult to attend classes full-time. Fortunately, there are many part-time programs that allow students to continue working while attending classes. Alternatively, there are programs that do not require students to be physically present in a classroom, but participate through online forums instead. This option allows for much more flexibility. Don’t forget to take into consideration the length of time it will take to complete the program.

Reputation – Not all MBA programs are the same. Every year the top business magazines publish rankings of business schools and individual programs. In addition, they are ranked by region and specialization. Take some time to see which schools, that meet your personal criteria, have the highest rank. The reputation of the MBA program that you attend could be the point of difference that lands you a job over a similar candidate.

Curriculum – Once you have selected a few schools, take a close look at the curriculum. What are their overriding philosophies? What makes their methodologies unique? In addition to the core courses, you will also want to look at the selection of electives. Make sure that the school you choose will give you the knowledge and skills that you most desire.

Admissions Requirements – What does each program require of its applicants? Make sure that your educational background and work experience meets the minimum requirements before you apply. You may be required to submit information about your successes and some of the obstacles you’ve overcome. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to accumulate more work experience before applying. While this may seem like a setback, it could provide you with some strong motivation for optimal performance.

Cost – Let’s not forget the cost. While the total cost of your MBA may be significant, keep in mind that your earning potential will increase significantly as a result. According to a recent article in the Financial Times, graduates of the top ranked MBA programs have seen their earnings increase more than 100% following the completion of their MBAs. Your current employer may be willing to contribute, or you may qualify for an educational loan to help make it more affordable.

So, as you can see, there are many factors to consider when evaluating an MBA program. Each school will provide information about the requirements, curriculum, school environment, and cost of their programs. These programs seem to have more flexibility than others, perhaps because the students have already had work experience and are likely looking to add to their successes. In order to attract the best candidates, these schools have designed MBA programs, their schedules, offerings and methodology, around the needs of their local business communities as well as the projected needs of the emerging global economy. Best wishes to you as you embark on your journey.