Choosing the right school

Criteria you should carefully research before applying to a business school

No single school is the best for everyone. The following are some of the criteria you shoul consider when choosing the school that's right for you



ACADEMICS


Although many academic aspects are similar among B-school, the are some differences you should carefully research about:



  • Case Study Vs Lecture Vs Practical Training: Most B-schools use a combination of the three, but some rely more heavily on one. Make sure you understand the three methods, which one you like best, and where the schools stand. Examples: Harvard and Virginia are almost 100% case studies, whereas Chicago and MIT are famous for being more lecture-oriented.

  • Competitiveness Vs Cooperativeness: Most B-schools these days emphasize team-work. However, the environment in some of them put a lot of pressure on the individual to exceed. Some very competitive schools are Harvard and Chicago, whereas Northwestern, Duke and Dartmouth seem more cooperative.

  • Concentrations: In most schools, you have to choose and stick to a particular concentration. While most offer Finance, Marketing and Operations, others are more difficult to find, like Management Information Systems, Human Resources and Health Care. Some schools, like Michigan, are very flexible in the concentration.

  • Core courses: Some schools try to keep core courses to the minimum. Others have a full year and more. Some let you wave core courses based on previous school work or placement exams, others don't.

  • Electives: Take a look at the electives offered, and make sure they fit your requirements. Be aware that the most popular electives fill quickly, and it may be hard to get in.

  • Faculty: Professors' quantity and quality, as well as their dedication to teaching and research, can be an important criteria. Lookout to celebrity professors

  • Take a look at the electives offered, and make sure they fit your requirements. Be aware that the most popular electives fill quickly, and it may be hard to get in.



CULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT


Make sure you feel comfortable with the culture and the environment of the school you plan to attend. This is quite hard to research, but start by:



  • Visiting a handful of schools: If you can afford it, do it. It will be useful for the interview (see applying), to see the school and the people, and even experience a class.

  • Visit the school's website, newspapers and clubs: See what is going on and what students are talking about.

  • Talk to current students and alumnus: Direct contact with current students is a great way to find out what it is like.

  • Ask the admissions departments for contacts: Direct contact with current students is a great way to find out what it is like.



PLACEMENT



The effectiveness of the placement office is crucial for a Business School. After all, most people attend to either change or enhance their careers. Make sure you know what the placement offices can do for you.



  • Resources available: An extensive library and collection of printed and online resources is a must

  • Staff: Career experts should be available to help you prepare and conduct your job search

  • Recruiters available: The placement office is responsible for attracting a number of high quality recruiters on campus

  • International search: Only a few placement offices provide adequate support for the international job search



OTHER CRITERIA



  • International reputation: Some schools, although very good, are not very well known outside the US (and probably in your country); e.g. Yale is very well known, but Michigan is not. However, Michigan is better ranked as a Business program.
  • Quality of life: Consider location, the campus, available housing, recreational opportunities, program intensity and so on.



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