Everyone is aware of the regular list of factors to be considered when choosing an MBA such as the programme ranking, tuition fees, networking opportunities, etc. But have you ever wondered what you have overlooked and the things you have not considered? There are several implicit factors which, although sometimes considered by MBA candidates, are largely underestimated. These nuances have the potential to determine the worth of your MBA and your overall experience during your education, but there is a chance you have completely overlooked them in your quest for the perfect MBA.
1. Internship opportunities
Doing an internship during an MBA programme might seem silly to a professional with a managerial experience prior to entering a business school. However, the benefits, especially to full-time MBA students, are too big to pass on. Undertaking an internship provides you with the unique opportunity to immediately apply new skills on the job during your MBA, but most importantly it often opens doors for opportunities to work at leading multinationals.
Perhaps you have been considering finding an appropriate internship yourself. However, this may be difficult without the correct contacts and approach, especially since a big percentage of MBA students study abroad.
Internship opportunities are usually available for full-time MBA programmes. Some universities provide you with internship opportunities during your MBA, while others do not. Try to weigh in the benefits of those that do when selecting your MBA programme.
Unfortunately, many European schools do not provide this opportunity as their MBA programme only spans in the course of one year. However, exceptions do exist: London Business School provides internship opportunities to MBA students and the University of Edinburgh Business School also aims to host such programmes. Many American schools also provide this service such as the University of Southern California and University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and Yale.
2. Specific electives
Most people simply scan the course requirement for a particular programme when choosing an MBA. Many, if not all programmes allow students to choose electives in the later stages of the programme. However, few may go through the electives to see if the ones being offered are genuinely of interest to them.
Some electives may be more interesting than others or may be more applicable to your career goals. For example, if you are planning to launch your own web-based start-up, a course in Global Online Entrepreneurship may be of more value to you than a course in Managing across Cultures. Hence, it is always a good idea to thoroughly consider the electives being offered when choosing an MBA.
The knowledge you gain from a specific elective may take you a long way in your career and considering the elective choices rather than simply their number will help you make a much more informed choice.
3. Exclusive school services
All schools have career placement departments which help you find a job after the completion of your studies. Yet, how many of you have considered the exclusive school services that your university offers when choosing an MBA?
While many of you may consider events as a distraction from coursework during your studies, they most certainly are not during your MBA. Opportunities such as summer camps, meeting former alumni during your course, and charitable initiatives and events all provide highly beneficial networking opportunities and a chance for you to develop your skills and thoroughly explore your career path. Crucially, however, not all schools give you those choices.
Again, try to weigh in the benefits of the schools that have more elaborate school services.
While landing a job after your studies might not be that hard with an MBA degree, isn't it even better if you get a chance to expand your horizons during the course of the programme itself?
Our advice is to thoroughly explore the types of events and exclusive school services that your school offers when choosing an MBA.
4. Learning a new language
Learning a new language may be the last thing on your mind when choosing an MBA, or perhaps it is not. However, ambitious business leaders never overlook this aspect, as fluently speaking or understanding multiple languages allows them to communicate and do international business much better.
Some business schools offer students the opportunity to learn a new language such as Mandarin, Spanish, or French amongst others. Usually, business schools offer the languages spoken most widely across the globe (such as those mentioned), or the ones that are native to the school. However, this opportunity is not prevalent in all business schools.
It would be a hassle to enroll in a language class elsewhere besides your own university, so perhaps this is a factor you should be looking into when choosing an MBA.
READ: How to Choose Schools for MBA or Master's Programmes?
5. School partnerships
Last but not the least, school partnerships are perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects when choosing an MBA. School partnerships are affiliations or collaborations of the school with other academic or professional institutions to share their resources for developing a better programme. School partnerships allow for the exchange of teaching staff, research, and add multicultural and reputational value to business schools. For example, students can benefit from guest lectures by prominent professors at partner institutions. Students can also join exchange programmes and may be able to spend a semester in the partner institution which may be located across the globe and benefitting directly from the combined resources and depth of knowledge that the partner institutes bring to the programme.
Examples of such partnerships include the ones between the Kellogg School of Management and WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, and the Bocconi-Wharton Executive MBA Luxury Business Management Programme.
Make sure you check partner institutions and the value of the partnership when choosing an MBA. It may significantly increase the value of your education and the value of your diploma, as well.
Long story short, understand the industry, go in the details and keep a broad and complex overlook. We're sure that if you do, you will be able to make a much better choice of MBA.
Networking is another important factor to consider when choosing an MBA. Read our Top 5 reasons why networking matters here: 5 Reasons Why Networking Is Important