Monday, 3 November 2014

There are many things to consider when deciding which MBA (Master of Business Administration) program you should pursue. This is not a decision that should be made lightly, and it should certainly not be made before understanding your alternatives. Here are some topics to consider to help figure out which graduate degree program is right for you.

An all-too-common reason for people to want a graduate degree is so they can increase their income. While an advanced degree can certainly do that, it is not guaranteed. The first question you should ask yourself is "How much am I willing to spend to attain this degree?" Many people take out enormous student loans to fund their master's, again assuming that their income will rise proportionally enough to easily pay off the debt. It is much better to decide ahead of time what a realistic budget is for you and then find a school that provides a program at that cost.
Some aspects to consider are public versus private institutions as well as in-state compared to out-of-state programs. Generally public schools in your state will be the most affordable. There are a number of resources available at the state level to attend a school located there. You will usually pay a premium just by crossing the state line.

People tend to get caught up in the name recognition of a school and assume it is worth paying extra for. That may be the case sometimes, but generally, attaining an MBA is distinguished enough without worrying about where you received it.

What is the learning environment that you thrive in? Do you work better alone or do you prefer to be in a group? How large of a classroom do you want to be in? Each of these decisions can greatly impact your success. Besides selecting a school that you can afford, make sure you are also picking one that caters to your learning style and sets you up for success.
Some programs really push students to compete with each other, while others promote a collaborative experience and help students learn how to work together on projects. There is not a right or wrong way, only a way that works best for you. The best thing to do when trying to determine the right environment is to visit the campuses and speak with teachers and students. You will quickly hear the good and the bad about studying there and then you can make an informed decision.

MBA programs are a special breed that cater to both students just coming out of their bachelor degrees and to working professionals. Will you be able to be a full-time student, or is an executive schedule that allows you to attend classes at night or online better suited for you? The former can usually be accomplished in two years, whereas the executive track will take a year or two longer.

Pursuing a Master of Business Administration can be great for your career. Increase your chances of success by choosing a program that aligns with your ability to afford it, the kind of learning environment you enjoy, and a schedule you can handle and stick to.

By Andrew S

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