Choosing the right business schools to apply to in preparation for a business career is a difficult and sometimes confusing process. Everyone has a different opinion about the important attributes of business institutions. Just a few conversations with relatives or friends who underwent the same process will prove that. Some will immediately ask, “What’s the student-faculty ratio?” or “Do they have triple accreditation?” The truth is that nobody knows what is most important but you.
There is a certain level of confidence and self-assurance that helps the process immensely. And so, to start, you can think about the characteristics that you find to be the most important to you.
For instance, do you care more about the experience of the education, or the paycheck afterward? Do you have financial constraints? In a similar vein, how much debt are you comfortable with having? Could you move away, or do you need to move away? Is location important, and if so, do you prefer the bustle of big cities or the natural beauty of rural campuses?
The list of questions goes on and on. So does the application process. But it will all go much more quickly and easily than you might think. Most people worry about whether they will get into their top choices, or their minds immediately go to the job prospects afterward, wondering if they will be hired with a salary to compensate the cost of their education. All of these thoughts make the process more confusing and intimidating than it needs to be.
So, toss all of those insecurities out the window, and focus on what you want. What motivates you most about the next level of your education? Is it the company car? Is it the professors, the books, or the experiential learning opportunities you will have to lead and participate in teams of peers?
If you have a concern, turn it into a priority. For instance, are you worried your personal statement will not be up to par? Figure out how you are going to combat that before you move on. But do whatever you need to do to enjoy the process; learn what you need to and move on! You have a lucrative and exciting career ahead of you!
Choosing a School
Looking for some ways to improve your business school search? Here are some fundamental ways in which you can make your time more effective, and end up with the best list of schools for you.
The first thing to consider is what degree you are looking for. Reading Degrees Needed for Business Careers will definitely help you with that aspect, as the resources list the kind of salaries that are associated with the various levels of education. As a general rule though, it definitely pays to go to school for business. Average business career salaries show a significant increase for each degree obtained.
Once you know whether you want to achieve an associate’s, a bachelor’s, a master’s, or a PhD in business, then you can start looking at other factors, such as location, cost, etc. While it can be a difficult decision to make, particularly if you are attached to the relationships you have made in your current location, knowing whether you are willing to look elsewhere or not will move the process forward. To do that, more than with any step of the process, it can be a good idea to talk to the people on the other end of those relationships, such as friends and family members.
Taking courses online is now a serious possibility for many people. However, as a general rule, taking part in online MBA programs will provide a less prestigious background than the majority of undergraduate institutions across the U.S. will. It is important to know, however, that there is not the same kind of discrepancy in the quality of the education received. Online programs just do not have the historical foundation that ground-based universities have.
Other important features of business programs include (if you are interested in ground-based programs) the campus itself, or the city in which the campus is located. Most students can be blindsided by these details when they arrive and may realize, all too suddenly, that they will be spending the next three years of their life stuck in a city in which they are uncomfortable.
In addition, some students are extremely interested in the student-to-faculty ratios of the programs in which they are interested. If you are better in intimate environments, finding a program that has a low ratio may be a necessity; if you are comfortable in large groups, the opposite would be a better option.
The decision-making process should be taken seriously. Get organized, be methodical, and make the best choice for you.
Applying to Business School
The bad news is that applying to MBA programs is difficult. The good news is that it’s difficult for everybody. So what? That means that there are a bunch of people who would be competing with you but who aren’t just because of how much time, effort, and stress it takes to apply!
So here are a few tips, tactics, and facts that will help you along in the process. The first thing you need to do is stop reading information about programs, and start looking at individual programs that you want to attend. Why? Because you can see requirements, prerequisites, and the kind of salaries that graduates of those programs will make. You can also look at the kind of business careers graduates of these programs have had.
In fact, one of the best ways to ensure a successful and stellar application is to keep your eye on the prize. It will keep you hungry – as well as motivated and intelligent – with regard to the application process. (You may want to look at average salaries and job descriptions more than a few times.)
On initial inspection, you will find a number of requirements, all of which may seem absolutely terrifying. One of these is letters of recommendation. Another is the GMAT. The application itself, which involves a personal statement, can be intimidating to some. There may be additional requirements for certain programs; if you are seriously interested in those programs, take note of what the specific requirements are.
As far as what matters in terms of acceptance regarding GPA, application, recommendations, and GMAT score, there is no predefined formula. However, the most common item to fall through the cracks is the application itself – the personal statement and any additional essays that need to be written.
Perhaps this is due to the difficulty of it. Plenty of people who are intent on applying sit down to write their personal statement, take one look at the blinking cursor of death, which mocks their pathetic attempts at vocalization, and run for the hills, never to return. Good news: you don’t need to compete with them!
It will help tremendously, no matter how brilliant, entrepreneurial, or gifted you are, to be organized. As soon as you have compiled your final list of programs you plan to apply to, keep them organized with a spreadsheet application. Then you’re set!
Business School Accreditation
Ascertaining the integrity of a school is vital if you hope to pursue a business career after graduation. Almost any company could throw together a program and hand out degrees to its graduates. That being the case, how do you know that a business school program will provide at least a standard level of education? The most effective way, currently, is to check the program’s accreditation.
There are some programs, especially new ones, which do not have any kind of accreditation yet, but which are great schools for business students. The standard rule of thumb is: if a program does not have one of the three types of accreditation, then it is advisable to check a number of different sources for the quality of the education the institution will provide.
There are currently three types of accreditation available. The most widely known is given by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Any institutions offering bachelor’s degrees, MBAs, or doctorates can have an AACSB accreditation.
The next type, given by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) is only available to MBA programs. The last type is more typical of European business schools, given by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).
There is some debate as to which accreditation is more impressive, or ensures the highest quality of education. Some reason that the AACSB accreditation is less impressive, since there are so many more schools with their seal of approval.
However, these people do not take into consideration the fact that the AACSB evaluates many more programs than the AMBA, as it looks at undergraduate institutions without MBA programs, whereas the AMBA confines itself to MBA programs only. So in many cases, it does not matter if a program has one or both of these. What this difference does mean is that if you are looking to obtain an MBA, then the AMBA accreditation will be more relevant to the quality of your education.
Since it is possible to have all three types of accreditation at the same time, there are those who think that these schools, since they meet the standards of all three groups, provide the highest level of preparation for business careers. Schools with this status are said to have “triple accreditation.”
Now, business school accreditation is important, especially when looking at programs near the middle of the pack, because accreditation of some kind assures a certain standard. That standard means something in terms of the education, and it will mean something to future employers.
Business Careers Certification
If you are an aspiring business professional who is considering taking a business certification in order to launch a successful career in business, you have navigated to the right page! This resource provides a useful introduction to the certification process: what it means, what it entails, what it is useful for, how much money certified professionals usually make, and more.
From a purely monetary viewpoint, it can be quite worth the effort to pursue a certification program. If you look in the “What it is” section of this resource, you will find that certified professionals can make roughly the same amount of money in their careers as business professionals with an associate’s degree, which requires more time – and usually more money – to obtain.
However, there are many different types of certifications available, all with different job functions that they certify, all with different amounts of clout in the job market. So, because the type of expertise is more specific to one job function, and because the various organizations sponsoring certifications may not be as well known or prestigious, obtaining certification involves some amount of risk. That is true unless the business professional is on a career track, knows the industry, and understands what certification means in that industry.
This resource assumes that anyone reading it does not know what certification to obtain. For these people, a large part of the process is deciding which certification you want, which begins with knowing exactly the kind of job you wants. Therefore, if you are thinking about certification, it is advisable to browse a listing of possible business careers that certifications can prepare you for. Many of these are listed on this website under the heading “Business Careers.”
To generate a decent list of options in the event that you do not know now, take a look at the “Types of Certifications” section to get a general overview. In addition, there is a more detailed section, regarding when an associate’s degree is better, or worse, than a certificate. It weighs the advantages against the disadvantages, and provides additional advice in that regard.
Certification exams test a large amount of information, which can be intimidating! Once a certification program has been selected, turn your attention to the “Preparation for Certification Tests” section. There you will find a number of studying and test-taking tips that will adequately prepare you for test day. Enjoy this resource, and have a lucrative and illustrious career!