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How do You Choose a Business School? 6 Key Factors Every Student Should Consider

choose a business school

Enrolling in an MBA marks a key turning point in your life. Not only is business school a huge investment of time, money, and effort—it’s a tremendous opportunity to carve out a brand new professional identity.

Whether you’re seeking advancement, want to branch out into a new field, or just getting started in your career, an MBA can be a very powerful kick-starter.

But where you do your training is just as important as the degree itself.

Each business school comes with its own set of pros and cons, leaving students with the challenging task of researching, sorting, and comparing the many options out there.

How do you find your ideal MBA? Which school features and characteristics matter most?

The truth is, it depends on your particular needs, preferences, and career goals. This is a highly personal decision.

Start by considering these 6 key factors when evaluating prospective B-schools and MBA programs.

1. Location: Will you travel for your MBA?

There are literally thousands of MBA programs worldwide. One way to quickly narrow down your search field is to consider your willingness to travel to attend business school.

If you have a family, a job you want to keep, or a lifestyle you’d rather not relinquish, you might quickly rule out travelling for your MBA. This will probably leave you with just a handful of options to choose from in your immediate area.

Keen to study abroad? Consider which destinations best suit your area of study/industry, which foreign languages you’d like to immerse yourself in, and where you’d build the most advantageous professional connections.

choose a business school
When choosing a study abroad destination, consider industry, language, and potential for networking

2. Program Flexibility: How much time do you have for study?

Flexibility is a top issue for many MBA students, specifically those with busy careers and/or kids at home.

If this is you, you’re probably prioritizing innovative part-time programs that offer weekend and evening classes, so attending school won’t compromise your work performance or family responsibilities.

On the other hand, you might be looking to fast-track the process with an accelerated, one-year MBA program.

When evaluating B-schools, consider your time constraints and scheduling needs, and see which institutions offer the best solutions for those requirements.

3. Industry connections: Need work experience with your MBA?

If you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder, break into a new field, or launch a business career from scratch, you’ll probably want to prioritize MBA programs that offer real work experience.

This might take the form of an MBA with co-op, or an “applied learning” curriculum that offers domestic and international field work, live client projects, and other ways to enhance your CV while studying.

This way, you’ll graduate with experience in your field, industry connections—and may even attract job offers before you finish your program.

choose a business school
Look at opportunities for real work experience and applied learning at each business school

4. Specialization: Looking for a niche MBA?

Many of the world’s top business schools are known for a particular area of speciality. Stanford for IT, Wharton for finance, Kellogg for marketing, etc.

Consider your career goals. Are you looking for a general MBA, or a program that focuses on a particular niche, such as health care, international management, or entrepreneurship?

Niche MBA programs are increasingly popular, with an ever-expanding array of options to choose from, including MBAs in real estate, art and design, and sports management. Take a look at this list of 7 highly specialized MBAs for more examples.

If you’re looking for a niche MBA, you’ll want to prioritize schools known for their expertise and industry partnerships in that particular area.

5. Reputation: How are alumni doing?

When you’re evaluating factors like reputation and prestige, it’s important to look beyond rankings. While you certainty want your business school (and program) to be well-respected and internationally accredited, you’ll find added value by considering the success of alumni.

Look at reviews, online forums, alumni networks, and if possible, connect with recent graduates (LinkedIn is a good tool for this).

Specifically, investigate alumni outcomes for the MBA program you are considering (part-time/accelerated/niche/co-op, etc.)

Contact admissions for statistics on alumni starting salaries and positions. Look carefully at the companies and organizations who have partnered with the B-schools you’re considering.

This information will be important as you evaluate the cost of each MBA and calculate your projected ROI.

choose an business school
If possible, meet with MBA alumni to get a clearer sense of student experience and program outcomes

6. Learning environment: What kind of school culture will motivate you?

Every business school has its own unique culture. Some are known for competitiveness, others for teamwork and community.

Some MBA programs attract students and professors from across the globe, while others are more local.

Never forget that your B-school experience is as much about classroom learning as it is about building your network. Plus, you’ll need to consider your own learning style when comparing campus environments.

Some students thrive in small, close-knit environments that feel personal and supportive. Others want a fast-paced, highly-charged campus where they’ll be driven by an atmosphere of competition.

One is not superior to the other; it all depends on how you learn best, and what you’re hoping to get out of the B-school experience.

Book a tour, enroll in a trial class, or sign up for an admissions appointment to get a feel for life on campus.

What’s next?

Now that you’ve considered some key criteria for choosing a B-school and MBA program, it’s time to rank these factors according to your own, very personal goals and needs. What is most important to you?

List your priorities and match them with the programs you’re eligible for, and you’ll be much closer to finding your ideal business school.

Made your choice and need help honing your application package and interviewing skills?

Click here to explore Quantum’s MBA Admissions Coaching services

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3 GMAT Study Apps for Anywhere/Anytime Prep

GMAT study

Read time: 5 minutes

Looking to squeeze in more GMAT study time between work, family, and other commitments?

Anxiety around the GMAT exam is often related to lack of prep time. Long work weeks, family responsibilities, and other obligations make fitting in sufficient study time seem next to impossible.

Many prospective test-takers feel defeated before they do a single practice question! Sound familiar?

Don’t give up just yet. There is a way to integrate more GMAT prep into your busy schedule. A tool that actually  brings GMAT prep to you, while you ride the train, stand in line, or wait for that work meeting to start. You guessed it. There’s an app for that.

Imagine: an extra 20 minutes of study per day equals 10 additional hours per month. Those extra hours can make a real difference in score gains.

In this post, we profile the features of three helpful GMAT study apps. Download one of these tools, and discover prep time you didn’t know you had.

The Official GMAT Study App from GMAC (iOS & Android)

This app was developed by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)—the makers of the GMAT exam. Choose this tool and get real practice questions, anywhere and anytime, straight from the source.

The Official Guide for GMAT Review app costs $4.99 and includes the following features:

  • access to 50 Quantitative and Verbal questions, plus four Integrated Reasoning questions (taken from The Official Guide book)
  • option to upgrade to Pro-Pack to access over 800 Quantitative and Verbal questions and 50 IR questions (costs $39.95)
  • option to customize the number of questions presented during each practice session (1-40 questions, depending on how much time you have)
  • full answer explanations to guide learning
  • analyses of each test result to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses
  • an option to time each practice session to simulate real test conditions
  • integration with the GMAC blog and official Facebook page (for updates and study tips)
  • countdown to exam day, based on the data you provide

Here’s a screenshot of the app, courtesy of iTunes.

GMAT study

Veritas Prep GMAT Question Bank (iOS & Android)

The free Veritas app connects users with hundreds of realistic GMAT practice questions and solutions. No paid upgrade is needed to access the full bank of practice questions.

The latest version of the app, released in July of 2016, promises fixes to some of the bugs reported on the previous version, a new Facebook login feature, and a re-designed homepage.

How will this app help you maximize your prep time? Benefits include:

  • sample questions representative of all five question types
  • option to customize quizzes by question type and length
  • access to detailed solutions to all questions
  • option to see how your performance stacks up against other app users

Here’s a look at the app interface. Note the “performance” feature that allows you to compare answer accuracy and pacing against other users. This could be an excellent motivational tool for test-takers with a competitive streak.

GMAT study

Ready4Gmat (iOS & Android)

This self-proclaimed “GMAT brain trainer” is free, with the option of in-app purchases. Ready4Gmat (formerly known as Prep4Gmat) provides access to over 1000 practice questions, hundreds of flash cards, and customizable tests.

The latest version came out in April, 2017 with deeper performance analytics and a wide range of strategy lessons covering IR, Analytical Writing, Verbal, and Quant topics.

Other stand-out features include:

  • access to a list of top MBA programs and their average GMAT scores (so users can set a target score based on their preferred B-schools)
  • detailed answer explanations to over 1000 verbal and quantitative questions
  • a School Matcher algorithm that helps users find schools that match their background and goals
  • detailed performance reports on strengths and weaknesses
  • intuitive lessons that walk through GMAT concepts, step-by-step
  • option to bookmark flashcards for later viewing
  • Question of the Day to keep users engaged

Here’s a look at the Ready4Gmat app, with its sophisticated performance tracker.

GMAT study

Several reviewers hail Ready4Gmat as a “perfect” and “favourite” study app—the ideal companion to a GMAT prep course, or other online/print study resources.

Interested in learning more about smart GMAT study strategies, courses, and prep materials?

Click here for a list of free GMAT events and resources near you

OR

Click here to learn more about Quantum’s GMAT prep courses

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Debunking the Top 3 GMAT Myths

There is a large amount of information online surrounding the GMAT. Because of this, it can become difficult for students to differentiate between which information is factual and which is fabricated.

Before you take the GMAT, it’s important to be familiar about all aspects of the exam and how to properly prepare.

Read on to learn the top 3 GMAT myths and why they’re untrue.

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7 Twitter Accounts all MBA Students Should be Following

Read time: 4 minutes

A large part of achieving an MBA is keeping up to date with trends and current events in the business world. While there is no shortage of information available online, it’s important to find credible sources who share interesting, relevant and up-to-date content. Twitter is an excellent source of real-time, condensed news. Not only can you find information on current events, but additionally, you can follow the thoughts, ideas and opinions of industry professionals all in one newsfeed.

Below is a list of respected thought leaders in the business industry that MBA students should consider following on Twitter.

Continue reading 7 Twitter Accounts all MBA Students Should be Following

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Here are Some Careers an MBA Can Get You

Read time: 5 minutes

When people think about MBA, they often think of careers in finance. While the financial industry has many career opportunities, the MBA degree can open many other doors if finance is not your strong suit.

Whether your career interests are in media, healthcare, or business, an MBA can open doors in a wide range of professional industries. If you’re thinking of achieving an MBA and are unsure if the financial industry is a good fit for you, fear not: here are some other exciting career paths to consider.

Marketing and Brand Management

If you’re passionate about traditional marketing materials, the digital-sphere or anything social media related, marketing and brand management could be the perfect career path for you.

The job description differs from place to place as each company will offer a unique product, service and brand identity.  Brand management can consist of maintaining positive brand reputation, marketing new products or services, sales and more. The industry is extremely fast paced, creative and team-oriented. Candidates must be organized, results-driven and highly analytical—all of which are common traits of successful MBA graduates.

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Go to Business School at Home or Abroad?

Read time: 5 minutes

Many students are interested in going to business school overseas as a way to see the world while still advancing their futures. That being said, while studying abroad has many admirable benefits, it isn’t for everyone.

Choosing where to achieve your MBA is a big decision that should be made with careful consideration. If you’re trying to decide whether studying abroad is right for you, here are a few important things to consider.

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Should you take the GMAT or the GRE for Your MBA?

Read time: 4 minutes

Back in 2005, students rejoiced when business schools began accepting GRE scores from MBA applicants. Accepting GRE scores allows B-schools to widen their applicant pool and allow more flexibility to students.

While this decision has a positive impact on future students because of the freedom it allows, many students wonder which test they should take and whether that decision will impact their score and chances of acceptance.

So if you’re a prospective business school applicant wondering which entrance exam you should take, we’ve put together a few key pointers you ought to know before you decide!

Continue reading Should you take the GMAT or the GRE for Your MBA?

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How to Ace Your MBA Admissions Interview

Read time: 3.5 minutes 

Successfully completing the GMAT is something to be proud of! Now that you’ve completed, what’s considered by most, the hardest part to your MBA application, it’s time to start preparing for the next step of the business school application process: entrance interviews.

Being invited for an entrance interview is a great opportunity to separate yourself from other applicants, showcase your dedication, and demonstrate why you’re a good fit for the school. Most importantly, this is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee.

If you’re preparing for an MBA admissions interview, follow these tips to make sure you ace it!

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3 Essential Networking Tips to get the Most out of Your MBA

Read time: 4.5 minutes

One of the main reasons students decide to apply to business school is to help them create a strong network and make connections within their chosen field. If you ask MBA students what the most important advantages of business school are, they will most likely have making connections with influential people on their list. In fact, networking is ranked as the third most important reason for achieving an MBA—next to the education itself and an increase in earnings.

With this in mind, it’s clear that being able to make connections is an essential skill you’ll want to perfect while achieving an MBA.

It’s no secret that the face of networking has changed over the years. You simply can not walk into a networking opportunity with a self-serving mindset. Rather, you need to be genuinely interested in learning about the people you meet.

We’ve compiled a list of must-know practices for networking effectively while achieving your MBA.

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How do you know when it’s time to go back to school and achieve an MBA?

Read Time: 3.5 minutes

Going to business school to achieve an MBA is not a decision to be taken lightly. Every pro and con must be weighed in order to make this decision – it is your education and career, after all!

Continue reading How do you know when it’s time to go back to school and achieve an MBA?