As I noted in my last post, I recently got accepted and started my first class for my graduate degree. This wasn’t something that just happened for me. I have been researching grad schools and degrees for the past 2 years before I finally made the decision on which school I wanted to attend.
While having dinner with a friend last week and talking to her about my experience, she mentioned that it might be a good idea to post about it. There are so many things that you have to consider when you make the decision that you’re ready to go back to school and not everyone knows what those things are.
So here are some of the things that I researched and learned along the way. I sure hope that this helps someone else as they start their journey into grad school.
What degree do you want to get? As a marketing professional, the standard graduate degree that most people get is an MBA (Masters of Business Administration). There are no doubt MANY benefits to getting an MBA. Here are 8 good reasons by AllBusinessSchools to get your MBA:
- You can advance your career
- You’ll earn more
- You could get paid training from your employer
- You can use your education to start your own business
- You’ll develop your business savvy
- You can become a leader in an emerging field
- You could gain networking resources
- You’ll enjoy greater job security
These are all great reasons, or at least I thought they were, so I began my search. But when I started to research schools and MBA programs, I found that there isn’t just one kind of MBA. Here are just a few different kinds of MBAs you can get – and a place where you can get them:
- iMBA– Immersion MBA (allows those with less real-world experience to become immersed in a virtual-reality clone of a real company with real products, customers, competitors, opportunities and failures.)
- LMBA– Leadership MBA (a general management business degree, typically serving a student population with more work experience.)
- One-Year MBA- (programs that allow you to do a very intense one year program- available at many colleges nationwide)
- Executive MBA– (Most often available to executives at companies and most often happen as night or weekend classes. Available at many colleges but I linked to one to give you an idea of the type of program.)
Do you want to specialize in anything? Another thing to consider with your MBA and the college or university that you choose to attend is what specializations exist for your program. In looking at the marketing realm (where I knew I wanted to focus) here are a few I found- to give you an idea of the many options out there:
- Internet marketing
- International Management
- Marketing Analytics
- Consumer behavior
Is an MBA right for you? To throw another curve ball your way, you have to consider whether or not getting an MBA is right for you… I know, I just listed 8 reasons why it’s great to get your MBA. However, according to many sources- like Forbes– the rise of specialized Master of Science degrees is on the rise. And may be a more affordable option or the option that allows you to specialize how you want to.
How do you want to get your degree? Let’s be honest, this is the 21st century. It’s not like the world was in 1980 so you don’t have to go to classes everyday with a notebook and a pencil. There are so many other ways that you can get your degree.
- In the Classroom: You can do it the traditional way and go to classes. But then you have to decide when you want to go. At night? On the weekends? Full-time during the day? There are so many options.
- Online: Yep, you can do your entire program online. Then you have to decide if you want to do a program that you go at your own pace or a more structured online program.
- Combination: There are programs that allow you to choose which classes you want to take in the classroom and ones that you want to take online.
Is the school accredited? SO many things to consider already. But what degree you get and how you get it isn’t all that you should look for. You also should look at whether or not the schools you are looking at are accredited or not. According to FindMBA, there are 3 main types of accreditations that you should look for:
- AACSB – This is an accreditation to business schools offering graduate and undergraduate business programs given by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. An AACSB accreditation in business represents a positive evaluation of a “school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas.” Schools are reevaluated every five years.
- AMBA– This is given by The London-based Association of MBAs and it judges the quality of a business school’s strategy, mission, faculty, students, curriculum, and assessment. By AMBA standards, for example, students admitted onto an accredited program must have at least three years of work experience. Three quarters of a business school’s faculty must have a Masters or Doctoral degree in a relevant discipline.
- EQUIS– Given by the European Quality Improvement System, it evaluates a business school’s governance, strategy, programs, students, faculty, research and development, executive education, contribution to the community, resources and administration, internationalization, and corporate connections.
How much does your program cost? Although the cost of an MBA degree can vary, the average tuition for a two-year MBA program exceeds $60,000. If you attend one of the top business schools in the U.S., you can expect to pay as much as $100,000 or more in tuition and fees. [information source]
In the end, it’s really a decision that only you can make for yourself. I, as the OCD person that I am, made an excel sheet that I kept and added in information that I gathered on schools that I was interested in. Some of the key information that I gathered were as follows:
- School Name
- Types of degrees and specializations available
- Classroom or Online
- Total estimated cost for the program
- Estimated time to completion
- Reviews I could find from current students, faculty and graduates
So what did I end up choosing?
After all was said and done, I found that the best program for me was the Masters of Science in International Marketing Management at Boston University’s Metropolitan College. I just started the program this week and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
It took me awhile to get to where I am, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I am exactly where I belong in the program that I was meant to be in.
Here’s to the next 2 years till graduation 🙂