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When it comes to choosing an MBA, it’s not necessarily a matter of choosing the ‘best’ school, but rather about choosing the 'right' school for you, which you can determine by doing your research — reading through course handbooks, speaking to business school staff and current students, seeking out graduate reviews and see how institutions compare to one another based on characteristics relevant to you.

As you get closer to starting your research, we recommend that you consider the following characteristics:

 

Location and facilities

A conveniently located campus makes it easier to attend classes, but also improves your access to on-campus resources and will come in handy when meeting up with staff and fellow students outside class. You should look out for modern, technologically enabled spaces to study and complete group work; a good library that offers services such as study skills workshops; and an online portal that gives you access to learning materials such as online journals.

 

Study mode

Flexibility is paramount for students trying to fit an MBA into an already hectic schedule, so it is worth exploring which study modes are available. First there’s the question of full-time or part-time study (be sure to check whether classes are held during the day or night, and, if summer semesters are available, that classes are held on weekends or after hours). You might also want to consider mixed-mode or distance and online options. It’s helpful to investigate each institution’s delivery methods too, including their use of interactive technology such as student blogs and online classrooms.

 

Course structure and workload

MBAs are renowned for their heavy workload, but providers can differ in how they spread it out (with some varying the course structure and workload throughout the various stages of the program). Check how many years it takes to complete the course and what sort of time commitment is required. Many graduates say that their favourite aspects of the program were practical experiences such as field trips, group assignments and subjects that used real business case studies, so it is important to ensure that your provider offers plenty of opportunities to apply concepts to the real world.

 

Staff expertise

The knowledge, experience and connections of your teachers can add a lot of value to the course. Do staff have hands-on business and management experience? If so, where did they work? Have they worked internationally? What academic qualifications do they hold?

 

The student body

Class discussions and group assignments form a significant part of MBA programs, and students often learn a lot through interaction with their peers. You might want to put some thought into who will be completing the course with you. What is the average age of your cohort? What expertise will they bring to the table? Are there any international students who have experience working overseas?

 

Program accreditation

Many business schools distinguish themselves through their accreditation, which can be beneficial if you intend to work overseas in the future. Two of the main international accreditation schemes to look out for are the AACSB and EQUIS.

 

Alumni association

One of the major benefits of completing an MBA is the connections that you form and the constant opportunity for networking. The size and strength of the school’s alumni association is important when it comes to maintaining these links. Look out for features such as alumni events and career services.

 

Further information

 

The Good Universities Guide to MBA and Management Courses contains independent ratings on every Australian MBA, DBA and management course. Compare courses and institutions based on key criteria such as location, student services, study mode, entry requirements, fees, teaching quality, professional associations and much more.

Order your copy of the MBA Guide today!

March 14, 2013

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