5 Questions to Ask About MBA Programs

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By Bethanny Parker

With advice from Phillippe Barr

Published on August 19, 2021

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If you're thinking about getting an MBA degree, you probably have a lot of questions. For example, what benefits can you expect to receive from completing an MBA program?

According to The Wharton School, MBA graduates expand their professional networks and gain access to better job opportunities. They also gain communication and time management skills that can serve them well no matter where their careers lead them.

In this blog post, we answer the top five questions you should ask yourself as you research the top MBA programs. Consider the answer to these questions as you look for the MBA program that suits you best.

1. What is this MBA Program's Learning Style and Curriculum?

Different MBA programs suit different learning styles and offer different curricula. If you're considering getting your MBA online, find out whether the program is asynchronous or if you must be online at certain times to meet with your class and instructors. Find out what your schedule will be like. Even if your program is self-paced, there will likely be deadlines you must meet.

When choosing an MBA program, look at the curriculum and decide whether the courses can help you meet your goals. Not every MBA program requires the same courses. You should also consider whether the learning environment is more competitive or collaborative and which would be better for you.

Additional considerations include class sizes and accessibility. Some schools may have small classes with 20 or fewer students, while others have 200 or more. Think about which you prefer and consider whether the professors will have time to answer your questions.

2. What Are My Chances of Admission For this MBA Program?

Evaluate your chances of admission honestly. Some programs require high GMAT scores, years of experience working in management, or a high GPA. Do your research ahead of time to see if you have a fair chance of admission.

If you're not sure if you qualify, research admission requirements. Talk to an admissions officer to find out what each program requires.

It's okay to apply to MBA programs you aren't sure you'll qualify for, but make sure you have a backup plan. Is there another program that would be acceptable if your first choice rejects you? If so, apply there as well.

3. Does this MBA Program Align With My Needs and Goals?

Think about how well each MBA program fits your career goals. Does the school offer the specialization or concentration you need? For example, if you work for a global business and want to move overseas, an international business concentration would be a good choice for you.

“The most important factor to consider is the program’s alignment with your career goals.”
Phillipee Barr, Former Assistant Director of MBA Admissions for Kenan-Flagler Business School

Consider what type of student support services the school offers. Some schools offer academic support, career preparation, and tutoring. Others offer financial education or help students find internships. Think about the types of services you might need and check to see if your chosen school offers them.

Additional considerations include culture and diversity. You might also consider the size of the school's alumni network and the availability of networking events and mentorship programs.

4. What is the Placement Rate for this MBA Program?

Many schools list the job placement rate for their MBA program on their website. For those that don't, you can ask an admissions officer. Employers seek graduates from top MBA programs, so the best programs usually have high job placement rates. Job placement data can give you a good idea of the value you can expect from that MBA program.

“Students should also look at the ROI, such as the employment rates in their field of interest. Are students getting internships? How many of those internships are converted into full-time jobs after graduation?”
Phillipee Barr, Former Assistant Director of MBA Admissions for Kenan-Flagler Business School

Ask what percentage of graduates land jobs and what type of companies they work for. Find out whether graduates of the concentration you plan on earning find employment in their area of expertise. Finally, ask for the most common job titles for graduates from the MBA program you're considering.

5. Is this MBA Program Feasible?

There are many factors to consider to determine whether an MBA program is right for you. For example, how much does an in-person MBA cost? How much does an online MBA cost? At some schools, it may be cheaper to get your MBA online. If the cost is high, you may have to take out student loans to pay for your MBA degree.

Location may also be important. Even if you are willing to travel to another location, consider the cost of living. You may find that it is much cheaper to choose another MBA program or get your MBA online.

Most MBA programs take two years to complete. Can you afford to take that much time off work? If not, you might want to see if you can get your MBA online part time. You may be able to keep your job while studying in the evenings and on weekends.

Final Thoughts

While many factors influence which MBA program you choose, the best program aligns well with your needs and goals. Finding the answers to these questions can help you decide which program is the best fit. You can find answers to most of these questions by reading school websites and talking to admissions officers. You can also learn a lot by speaking with current MBA students and alumni.

Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Programs

How much does an MBA cost? true

Tuition for a two-year graduate program costs an average of around $60,000 for public schools and $80,000 for private schools. You must also pay for supplies, books, transportation, housing, and meals. You will most likely have to take two years off work to attend school, so in addition to the actual cost of attending college, factor in the loss of two years of wages.

Is an MBA program hard? true

MBA classes can be challenging, but you don't have to be a top student to do well in business school. Study hard and be willing to ask questions when you don't understand something and you can succeed. Most professors are willing to spend extra time with students who are struggling to make sure they understand the material.

Should I get an MBA? true

If you work in business and want to advance your career, an MBA might be a good idea, especially if you work in food, beverage, and tobacco; consulting; investment management; technology, internet, and e-commerce; or private equity. These are the industries that see the highest increases for employees who earn their MBAs.

What can I do with an MBA?

MBA graduates work in many industries, including consulting, finance, accounting, energy, technology, and healthcare. Job titles include accounting manager, product manager, brand manager, sales manager, and human resources manager.

How much money can I make with an MBA?

A recent study found that employees with MBAs earned an average of $36,740 more than employees who did not have an MBA. An MBA is often required for upper-level management positions, such as chief executive officer, chief information officer, and chief marketing officer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for top executives is $107,680 per year.

Interview From:

After having served for three years as Assistant Director of MBA Admissions for Kenan-Flagler Business School, Philippe has been an admissions consultant at Accepted.com for the last 5 years where he helps prospective students present their competitive advantage on paper and in-person. Prior to joining Kenan-Flagler, Philippe served as an assistant professor at UNC, Chapel Hill for seven years where he coordinated the admission process for the masters and doctoral programs. He holds an M.A from McGill University and a Ph.D. from New York University.

Should you choose a full-time or part-time MBA program? Learn more about the pros and cons of each. Get tips for starting a business consulting career. Learn what steps you need to take to establish yourself in the consulting industry. Learn about scholarships and financial aid available for students pursuing a degree in business.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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