How to Decide on the Best MBA Program for You

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There are many great MBA programs out there and our websites and communications may sound similar. So how do you choose which schools to apply to? 

In the pre-COVID years, the Admissions team was on the road meeting prospective students all over the world so that they could learn more about Michigan Ross and our MBA program. Last year, we pivoted to holding virtual recruiting events and we found that we were able to connect with more candidates, from more places around the world, than ever before (all from the comfort of their laptops.) Therefore, we will continue to hold these virtual events this year, and we invite you to attend them to help you make your decision on where to apply.  

Below are factors that Ross students have told us they considered. I encourage you to develop your own list and weigh each factor. 

Rankings

This is the most common place applicants start when they make their target lists. If you’re going to consider rankings, know what factors and weights the rankings organizations use and their methodology.   

Career Outcomes and Opportunities

Another list-topper for MBA candidates is career outcomes. When evaluating a school’s career prospects, be sure to look at their employment report. You should also assess the following: 

  • Do the companies I want to work for hire students from this school?
  • Does the school have alumni working in my target field? (You can do a LinkedIn search.) 
  • What kind of career search support does the school offer?
  • What opportunities exist for me to get experience in a field I’m interested in at this school?

The answers to these questions, along with your particular recruitment goals and needs, should help narrow your MBA application shortlist. 

Teaching Method

Ask yourself how you learn best, and target schools that accommodate your style. Are you more of a hands-on learner? Or do you prefer the case method? Are you team-oriented and eager to work with others, or is independent study more appealing to you? For example, Michigan Ross is known for our action-based learning approach. Investigate each school’s teaching method to ensure you will be able to succeed in that academic environment.

Culture

Culture is paramount to the MBA experience. One of the greatest benefits of an MBA is the network you build, so it’s important to ensure the people you will spend the next two years with are those you would be happy to call upon later in your career. Reach out to student ambassadors and alums. Are folks quick to respond? Are they enthusiastic about their experiences and eager to share? Do the conversations leave you feeling energized? If you’re having consistently great conversations and making easy connections, you may have found the right MBA culture match. 

Identifying the right programs to apply to can be tough. I hope the framework above helps you in your MBA journey. For more advice, check out our webinar about how to choose the right MBA program for you. 

Watch the how to choose the right MBA program for you webinar