Choosing the Best MBA Program


Edward writes:
I applied to three MBA programs Thunderbird University of Rochester and Columbia University. Although Columbia is my first choice I am not quite
sure whether I should go to Thunderbird or Rochester if I get a negative
answer from Columbia. How do I know which of these programs is the
best for me?


The Career Doctor responds:
Three great schools. You must be an excellent student. I assume that long
before you applied to these three graduate programs that you conducted
research to determine that these are the three best for accomplishing your
career goals. If that assumption is correct then I can give you a list of criteria
but more than likely your choice will come down to a gut decision — which of
the remaining two fit you best?
If you want to be logical about your decision here are some criteria to
consider — in alphabetical order:

  • Accreditation: There are two main types of accreditation: institutional and program-specific.
  • Admission Standards: You want a graduate program with tough admissions standards.
  • Career Assistance: One of your main goals for earning an advanced degree most
    likely revolves around .

  • Cost/Financial Aid: If we all had unlimited resources then cost would not be an issue; for most of us however this is usually a top issue.
  • Culture: You need to identify schools with cultures that fit your style and comfort-level so that you’ll have a better chance to excel.
  • Faculty: A graduate program is only as good as the faculty who teach in it.
  • Reputation/Ranking: Lots of different organizations rank graduate programs so while rankings are an important measure of quality you also need to investigate the source of the rankings.
  • Size: There are two aspects of size that you should evaluate — size of the program and size of the entire university.
  • Surrounding Community: You’ll have to live there for a number of years so you better be able to at least tolerate the surrounding areas.

Read more about these criteria — and others — in this article published on Quintessential Careers:
Criteria for Choosing a
Graduate Program
. And for more general advice about graduate school review this article:
Considering Graduate
School? Answer These Five Questions Before You Decide
.