I've noticed one of the hot topics in this forum is school selection. We are often asked what schools a particular applicant can get into without a great deal of information beyond GMAT and GPA. If you are at ground zero in terms of school selection, here are a few tips to get started:
- Establish your criteria: What is important to you? Everyone has different preferences, but here are a few ideas to consider:
- Location: are you a city person or do you want to live somewhere quiet? Is the school close to where you want to live afterwards, so you have easy access to target companies for recruiting?
Career Services: Where do your target companies recruit? How many students are placed in careers within 6-12 months? What careers do students typically pursue?
Academics: What is the teaching method (case, lecture or a combination)? Are the professors rewarded for teaching or research? What subjects are the school's strength (e.g. Wharton for Finance, Kellogg for Marketing)? How big will your classes be? How competitive is the registration process for popular classes?
Alumni: How big is your class (and by extension, alumni network)? What industries are the alumni most active in? Are the alumni engaged with the school and students?
Social: Are the students younger or older? Single or married? Do they socialize together, or disperse into the city to make friends outside of school?
- Financial Times: The FT rankings skew more international than Businessweek and can provide some level of detail on the international reputation of your target schools. This is helpful if you are planning to work or attend school internationally.
- School Websites: Every MBA program has an incredible wealth of information on their websites. From admissions information to career data, you will be able to answer most specific questions through a perusal of the website. Some schools even have student and admissions blogs for a qualitative perspective.