How do I Choose the Best Global MBA Program?

Gerald Bramlett
Gerald Bramlett
Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Choosing to enter a global Master of Business Administration program usually is a life-altering decision. It can change family dynamics, change work relationships and even have an impact on your health, so you must choose the program carefully, using every possible resource. First, consider what the MBA will be used for and select a program that will help you meet your goals. The second step is to consider the rankings of the universities that offer the specific program. Finally, and perhaps most important, you need to consider what type of atmosphere best suits your learning style.

The academic market contains many global MBA programs, each with its own individual curriculum. Although most business programs offer curricula including core courses on accounting, finance, marketing and organizational management with electives on specialized topics, many schools offer programs focused on a theme, such as a green MBA. Some programs are very specific to an individual discipline, such as an accounting MBA for accountants or a management MBA for managers.

Another important consideration in choosing a global MBA program is your lifestyle. For some people, the part-time MBA is most suitable, or perhaps an online MBA is better. For some, the accelerated MBA is best. There also is the option to take the mini-MBA, which normally takes only a year. The important consideration is that the program must fit your needs.

After you have determined which type of global MBA program suits your needs, you will need to revise your list of candidates. A number of publications offer lists of business schools with rankings included. An important sorting tool is the selectivity of the program. To determine the selectivity of a global MBA program, you can analyze its median Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores and the grade point average of students. Many programs also use years of work experience in their selection criteria.

It is important to remember that while not all global MBA programs are prestigious, many of the mid-tier programs can be suitable to your needs and can offer the networking possibilities that are so critical. The top-tier programs command the highest tuition, which is another important consideration when selecting a global MBA program. Scholarships and financial aid are available in most programs, but this might not be sufficient when entering the top-tier universities.

After you have selected a list of candidates, it is important to consider teaching style and classroom experience. Depending on your learning style, different global MBA programs offer different types of instruction. Some utilize a system of in-class debate and case studies that focus on different types of problems. Others use a traditional lecture-based system, and some offer hands-on, experience-based learning. Finally, some offer a careful blend of the three styles.

The best way to make a decision about what environment is most suitable is to visit the campus. Most programs offer tours of the campus and the opportunity to sit in on a class. You should take advantage of these opportunities before making a final decision.

The atmosphere of the campus might be the deciding factor. Learning often is based on the comfort of the learner, and your total experience might be influenced by how well you fit into the culture of the university. This last factor could be the difference between a great learning experience and a waste of time and resources in a global MBA program.

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    • Businessman with a briefcase
      Businessman with a briefcase