How to Decide on the Best MBA Program for You

People stand in front of a class with a Sanger Leadership Center logo behind them

There are many great MBA programs out there. How do you decide which one is right for you?

One way to get to know different MBA programs is to plan to attend an admissions event near you. This year at Michigan Ross, our Office of Admissions is out on tour, attending and holding events with prospective students like yourself all around the world. If you’re curious about what it’s like to be a Full-Time MBA student here at Ross, come meet us and learn more about our program, application process, and community.

If you can’t make it to an in-person event, we also have a variety of online events and Virtual MBA Tours you can take advantage of.

As you chat with admissions teams and research different business schools and their MBA programs, what should you think about when making a final decision? Below are factors that Ross students have told us they considered. I encourage you to develop your own list and weigh each factor carefully.


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 and 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 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? You may have found the right MBA culture match if you’re having consistently great conversations and making easy connections.

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.