The first and probably most important issue when you think of applying to an MBA program abroad is choosing the right business school. By “Right” we mean choosing the business schools that are adjusted to your needs and desires, and not only the one business school of your dreams. Statistics show that if you apply to 4 (up to 6) business schools, you will probably receive an offer for admissions from at least 1 or 2 business schools.
After identifying a number of business schools to your liking based on your personal traits, preferences and future goals (after all each business school is different from the other), as well as the schools characteristics, try to grade them from the top to the bottom using that same reasoning and scales that you used to pick them. That way you can adjust the allocation of your resources to the appropriate schools.
Below is a list of questions you might want to consider when choosing a business school to apply to. You can use information located at the various business schools’ web sites and brochures, ranking web sites and discussion forums or you may visit several business schools on site. You can also meet schools representatives in Israel at information sessions, coffee chats and MBA fairs. However, the most important thing to do is to speak with alumni and current students. Business school students tend to be very friendly for new comers so do not be shy. Just keep in mind that they have some tendency to praise the program and school they are at.
Try first to decide what you prefers and only than verify a business school’s orientation and concentration. Do not panic if you do not have a clear vision of your goals. The application process is tedious and time consuming. One of its purposes (mainly through the essays) is to verify that your decision to attend an MBA program is not the result of a whim, but rather the outcome of a rational contemplation that takes into account your aspiration, talents and the road you have followed up to date. You must take the time to reflect on these questions. A useful way for getting some input on the possibilities that lies after graduation can be found at the various business schools’ career service centers.
Many alumni believe that the school’s network is its most valuable resource. They say that you learn more from your peers than from your professors and that a business, especially international businesses, is build on diverse networks and on your ability to get to the right decision-maker in an organization.
Many prospective applicants immediately associate the US business schools with MBA programs. However, by doing that you avoid an elite number of European business schools. Getting your MBA degree from a European institution has some advantages:
- Prospective students interested in pursuing a career in Europe find it considerably easier to get accepted to a European situated firm, having graduated from a European business school (because most of the recruiting for such firms is done in Europe).
- Student diversity is much higher than in US business schools.
However, one must not forget that there are some shortfalls for attending a European business school:
- If you want to take a shot at the US job market, you are starting at the wrong place.
- You will be at least one year in a non-English speaking environment. While one can see it as an advantage, most people find it hard to learn an additional language during the hectic campus lifestyle.
In general, we believe that the ranking published by various web sites serves only for indicative purposes. We strongly suggest that you do your own research on the different business schools and their ranking. Take into consideration the how the ranking of a business school has change in last several years. Remember that a school could be 10th this year and 17th in the next, while other school will always have great reputation regardless of their ranking. Lastly, try to analyze those rankings. Verify where the average salary is the largest, where is the highest rate of employment after graduation and where the admission rate for international students is the highest.
You can also easily inquire about the recruitment policy of your preferred company or companies. Large recruiters, such as investment banks and consulting companies tend to publish on their web site the origin of their recruited MBA graduates. If you do not find your school over there, it means that the company probably would not come to recruit on this campus, but it does not mean that you do not have a shot to be hired, you just have to work harder at it.