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Use Alumni Perspectives to Inform Your B-School Decisions
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22nd Oct, 2009 | Source : www.mba.com

Going back to school to get an MBA may be daunting, but research on what alumni value about their degrees offers reassurance—and perhaps some things to think about when selecting a program.

The 2009 Alumni Perspectives Survey of 3,810 people who earned MBAs from 2000-2008 showed nine out of 10 thought the overall value of their degree was good to outstanding. Analyzing the data, researcher Gregg Schoenfeld found that the longer the alumni had been out of school, the more they tended to value the degree.

Schoenfeld, associate director of research for the Graduate Management Admission Council, also studied what the alumni—from full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs worldwide—valued most about their degrees. Key factors Schoenfeld found, and the implications for you when choosing an MBA program:

1. Career services. What their school did to help them find internships and jobs was the most important factor for full-time students. Career services offices were less important for part-time and executive MBA students, as they often stay with the same company after graduation. Ask schools what percentage of students get placed in internships and jobs, as well as which companies recruit their students.
2. Curriculum. Program content was most important for part-time and executive MBA students. Consider how a program’s curricular strengths match your career goals, as well as how classes and coursework are structured.
3. Faculty. Teaching quality is a consistent value factor. Schoenfeld notes that faculty tends to be slow to change, because they often have tenure and turn over slowly. Asking current students and alumni about a program’s faculty, as well as what qualifications they bring to the classroom, can help you make decisions.
4. Peers. In business school, what you learn from your classmates may be as important as what you learn from your professors, and alumni from full-time and executive MBA programs particularly value what they’ve gained their fellow students. Business school peers are also the basis for lifelong social and business networks. The importance that MBA alumni place on their peers suggests that it’s particularly important to find a place where you’ll fit in. Consider the type of students a school selects: the range and quantity of work experience that incoming students have, and what kind of academic requirements, such as undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores.

Business school rankings often use criteria such as selectivity and institutional reputation, but those criteria may be very indirect measures of what ended up being most important to alumni. To find the best MBA program for you, it might be worth considering what those who’ve been there value most.
For more information, go to mba.com



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