A Guide to Choosing an MBA Program

People considering obtaining their Master’s in Business Administration should ponder several different things when deciding where to apply. Factors to contemplate include the business school’s reputation, location, curriculum, and specializations of both the tenured faculty and courses offered.

For most applicants, it’s also essential to consider the program’s cost and any financial aid options available to them at each school. It is also helpful to look at the job placement record of the school and the specific MBA specialization that interests the applicant.

A Guide to Choosing an MBA Program

Another important consideration is the alumni network. A strong alumni network is helpful for networking and obtaining new positions in the future. It’s also important to consider how the program fits with the applicant’s overall career goals and how the program will specifically help the applicant achieve them. Researching the program and visiting the campus is very helpful when deciding what school to attend, as is talking with current and recent graduates.

Different Types of MBA Programs

Not long ago, attending business school meant attending a university for two full-time years to obtain a post-graduate degree. Today, that’s changed because many different kinds of MBA programs are available to meet the diverse needs of a variety of students. Full-time MBAs, meaning full-time two-year programs, are still available. Another popular choice is the part-time or Executive MBA.

Students who usually choose these programs are already working and wish to take classes at night or on weekends. Students with established careers in business are sometimes eligible to earn an accelerated MBA, where they get credit for their work and real-world experience.

Many students still need to attend classes on campus, even with the rise in the popularity of online degrees. Students with specific career goals also have options tailored to their needs. Dual-degree MBAs get paired with other degrees in fields like law and medicine, and students earn both degrees simultaneously. Joint MBAs allow students to obtain an MBA and then another graduate degree. Applicants should consider their schedules, obligations, and career goals when deciding what type of MBA fits best into their lives and long-term goals.


Recent college graduates and people established in their careers both consider MBAs as ways to improve their long-term career prospects and their lifelong earning potential. However, this opportunity comes at a cost. A full-time MBA program costs from about $50,000 a year to more than $150,000 a year. This cost reflects tuition, textbooks, fees, and room and board for full-time students. Doing a part-time or online MBA program can be more economically practical. Some are as little as $8,000 a semester.

Employment Stats

The employment statistics for recent MBA graduates vary depending on several factors, including the economy, the industry, and the specific program the graduate attended. On average, the starting salary for MBA graduates ranges from $80,000 to $120,000, with graduates from top-tier programs often having higher averages. Consulting, finance, and technology are popular among MBA graduates, with many pursuing careers in entrepreneurship and non-profit organizations.

Reputation and Rankings of MBA Programs

Various organizations and publications rank MBA programs globally, including US News & World Report, Financial Times, The Economist, and Businessweek. MBA programs are rated based on a variety of criteria. These criteria include the reputation of the school, the average starting salary of recent graduates, the quality of faculty, student satisfaction, and the school’s program offerings.

MBA Course Curriculum

Most MBA programs cover some of the same fundamental concepts. These include finance, accounting, marketing, operations, supply chain management, economics, organizational behavior, ethics, strategy, innovation, and international business concerns. Most programs also offer electives and allow students to specialize in a specific field of study. Typically, students specialize in finance, technology management, and marketing. Most MBA programs purposefully include hands-on experiences that include internships and case studies.