MBA Program

A Masters of Business Administration or MBA is arguably one of the best degrees dollar-wise to advance your career. Any MBA program has weight when it comes to increasing your knowledge and clout in your current career, but some programs outweigh others when it comes to name recognition and credentials added to your professional resume.

Not all schools are created equal. But, unfortunately, there is simply not room in the Harvard Business School for everyone seeking an MBA this year. Finding the best school for you requires a balance of convenience, ability, and funding.

Consider Your Ability Level
To get in to the top executive schools, you must have a past level of ability proven by your GPA and course load in your undergraduate classes. If you were a C- kind of student, your new drive and dedication won’t have as much impact on your college applications as you old GPA.

Some master’s programs are willing to overlook a few low grades in courses unrelated to the field you’re now pursing, especially since an MBA encompasses a wide field of abilities and interests. But competition for the top schools is intense. If you don’t have the qualifications, networking and schmoozing skills to back up your application, you will likely do better to focus your attention on good schools rather than the best.

Examine Your Level of Commitment
Your next step is to examine your level of commitment. Some MBA degrees are intense rapid-fire programs that require you attend classes full-time and leave room for internship or other program commitments during what would normally be work time. Other MBA classes are done in the evenings and leave very little time for study when balanced with your current career.

If you are committed to earning your MBA as quickly as possible, taking eighteen months to twenty-four months away from your current career to immerse yourself in your studies and the overall business experience will likely prove to be the most valuable method of earning an advanced business degree. But if your budget or career can’t be placed on hold for the time it takes to earn an MBA, taking night classes over the span of three or four years with intense amounts of independent study are likely your best option.

Determine Your Level of Funding
MBA programs range in clout as well as pricing. You can get an MBA for relatively little in the scheme of educational dollars, but you must also examine the value of the particular degree. The reputation of the MBA program and experience gained in your studies will be what pays out in your career – not just the piece of paper.

The amount you have to invest in your MBA might make a difference in the school you select. If your employer is willing to foot the bill, you have much more flexibility when it comes to selecting a program. But if you’re working through school on your own dollars, a mid-priced school might offer the best balance of recognition and value.

There are many student loan and grant programs available to those pursuing higher education. Be sure to research these possibilities to see if you can possibly afford more school than you originally thought.

Examine Options in Your Area and Beyond
When you’re interest, abilities and budget are set; it’s time to examine the schools and programs in your area. Look for accredited programs and those with a solid reputation and alumni. Speak to colleagues about their experiences in various programs and be sure to ask if your employer favors one MBA over another.

MBA programs vary within each school and you might find courses more in line with your own career goals at one school versus another. If you’re not satisfied with the options in your area, expand your search to other cities and universities. A less expensive area and a good grant might make it possible to attend school full-time and begin reaping the benefits of your MBA sooner.

Weigh Your Choices
When you’ve created a short list, weigh your options against your criteria. Should you invest more money and time into a program with more name recognition? Or should you work through an internet based MBA as quickly as possible to obtain the degree? Only you will know what the best balance is for you.

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