Business has become one of the most popular postgraduate degrees in the United States. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many C-Suite professionals, or even Fortune 500 executives, without a Master of Business Administration (MBA). However, although many prominent corporations prefer to hire job candidates with an MBA, simply having a business degree doesn’t guarantee success. Doing well in business also requires grit, hard work, creativity, and initiative. In other words, you get what you put into the profession. As a result, it’s important to find the right MBA program that will match your needs and adequately prepare you for a career in business. These are five considerations to take into account before choosing an MBA program.
Among the most important credentials to look for in an MBA program is accreditation. Accreditation is determined by both private and non-governmental agencies, to ensure that universities and educational institutions meet a set of strict operational standards. Accreditation agencies are, in turn, reviewed by outside agencies such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education. When reviewing prospective MBA programs, be sure to find one that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) before matriculating. This accreditation will assure that you’re receiving a quality education that will prepare you for a successful career in business.
Though many students choose to take classes in-person throughout their MBA program, there are some who prefer online classes. This is especially true of students who are already working professionals looking to enhance their career opportunities and grow their business network. If this is your situation, it’s essential that you find a program that offers you flexibility. Schools that offer online programs provide you with the ability to take classes while working. You’ll be able to study wherever and whenever you need. Additionally, some online MBA programs offer an accelerated track, meaning you’ll be able to complete your master’s degree and advance your career more quickly than traditional MBA students.
Your program’s curriculum can have a lot to do with the level of success you’ll experience after graduating. After all, the classroom (whether in-person or virtual) is the place you learn all the soft and technical skills you’ll need to embark on a career in business. Employers expect graduates of MBA programs to have the ability to solve complex problems, build a strong network of business connections, understand the digital impact on business, and work with and lead a variety of people. Additionally, you’ll be expected to have skills in project management, accounting, and marketing. When considering your future MBA program, look for courses that can effectively prepare you with these skill sets, such as:
- Organizational Behavior
- Marketing & Branding
- Global Program & Project Management
- Information Systems & Knowledge Management
For students interested in pursuing a business career in a major city after graduation, it may be worth considering the location of your future MBA program. Most MBA programs have a strong alumni network which graduates can tap into when it comes time to apply for jobs. In fact, many MBA graduates will tell you that among the most beneficial parts of their program was the contacts they made while in school. Consider what kind of network will benefit you the most and how you’ll build that network. So, for example, if you want to work in New York City, you may want to consider an MBA program that’s based in the tri-state area around New York. Alternatively, if you want to pursue a career in international business, exploring programs overseas (or a local program with international students) is a smart move.
- Career Outcomes
In general, the outlook for jobs in the business field is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in business and finance will grow by 5% between now and 2029. But students who enter into MBA programs should be mindful of the job placement statistics of their program. This information can usually be gleaned by contacting the school alumni network or career development office. Additionally, look for programs that offer concentrations or specializations in your area of interest. For example, a program that offers courses in accounting will prepare you for a vibrant career in the financial sector. By pursuing and developing a specialization, you’ll have access to more job opportunities, and will be able to showcase your competence in a dedicated area of business. MBA specializations include, but are not limited to:
- MBA in Accounting
- MBA in Analytics Intelligence
- MBA in Healthcare Management
- MBA in Human Resources Management
- MBA in Finance
- MBA in Management
Choosing a business school is a personal process that requires students to know exactly what they need from an MBA program. Take time to weigh the various attributes of your top choices, keeping in mind these five considerations before making your decision.
Interested in pursuing an MBA degree? Request more information about University of Bridgeport’s MBA program!