There are nine key factors for a potential MBA student to weigh up before deciding to embark on a course, says Prof Amir Sharif, MBA Director, Brunel Business School:
- Location: where will you study (in your own country, overseas, on campus or on-line)? Will you commute, stay on campus, be close to the campus or does it not matter?
- Cost: how much will it hit your pocket? Are you going to be funding it yourself, family or friends – or do you need to seek funding (including direct sponsorship, loans, grants or scholarships)? What is the total cost of study (TCS): include living expenses, transport costs, family expenses, books and materials AND lifestyle!
- Accreditation, Reputation and Ranking: Do you understand how rankings work (noting the specific methodologies used to create leagure tables)? Is the programme accredited? Is it located in a business school or a business school in a university? Is the institution well known and recognized by employers? Is it a ranked programme? Does the B-School appear in the popular press / online?
- Managing your time: how will you fit study into your life? What’s the non-financial cost of “re-entry” into higher education for you – work/life/study balance? Do you have a work ethic? Do you have family support to do so?
- Teaching methods and Learning Culture: Does the programme provide a range of teaching methods and styles (lectures, seminars, team exercises, off-campus visits, etc)? Do you know the best way that you learn to make use of these teaching methods? What type of a learner are you? Are work-essential skills training also provided? If you enroll, who will your MBA classfellows be and what does a typical MBA class look like?
- Flexibility and process: How flexible is the B-school to your needs? Is the process of enrolling clear and simple? What do you need in order to make your enrolment a success?
- Content: What will you learn? Is it important to learn “the fundamentals” or would you also prefer to learn eclectic subjects (such as creative arts, or sciences) alongside? Does it “look like an MBA”?
- Onward opportunity: What are the career prospects? Is there a bespoke and clear career development programme as part of the MBA? Are there any successful alumni? What are their stories? What do employers say about the MBA programme? What do employers say about the B-School? What is the transformation from pre- to post-MBA? Can the school explain this?